Stockholm: Money transfers and payments over mobile phones are likely to be among the top 10 most important mobile applications by 2012, according to Gartner.
Mobile money transfers topped the list, beating out location-based services, search and browsing. According to Sandy Shen, Research Director in Gartner's Mobile Devices and Consumer Services group, money transfers are already popular in a number of developing countries, and will continue to attract more users. "It's a way for users who don't have a bank account to get access to financial services," said Shen.
In developing markets, mobile payments aren't about offering something that hasn't been available before, and in the developed part of the world it's about offering more convenient ways of paying.
The use of NFC (Near Field Communication), which is in seventh place on Gartner's list, will be part of that. The technology lets users pay for goods by waving their NFC-enabled handset in front of a reader. Mobile phones will also be used to authenticate online transactions, by sending one-time passwords to the phone, or creating them directly on the phone.
The number of worldwide mobile phone subscribers makes for an attractive target. The mobile phone is also a device that users tend to always carry with them, according to John Ahlberg, Spokesman at Todos, which has launched an iPhone application for authenticating transactions and signed a deal with smart-card maker Oberthur Technologies.
However, paying or transferring money with a mobile phone comes with a set of challenges, including both real and perceived security threats. The data is transmitted wirelessly and adds a new level of risk, compared to traditional card payments.
In order of appearance, the other seven applications on Gartner's Top 10 Consumer Mobile Applications for 2012 list are; location-based services, search, browsing, health monitoring, advertising, instant messaging and music.