Asia-Pacific mobile payments market to double in five years

The Asia-Pacific mobile payments market is set to double to US$3.6bn by 2015, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan.

SMS payments, which accounted for nearly 82% of total transactions in 2009, are likely to remain the dominant mobile payment channel in the region until 2015, the forecasters predict, but growth of the NFC market will see SMS’ share drop to 67% in five years time.

“NFC will find wide popularity, and quickly too, in developed markets where mobile penetration rates and the use of smart cards for contactless payments are already high, and rallying the supporting infrastructure is relatively easier,” says Shaker Amin, author of ‘The 2010 Asia-Pacific Mobile Payments Outlook’ study.

“Nevertheless, in all instances, the benefits are enormous — for mobile operators, it provides a means to add value to their commercial offerings with new services enabling new revenue streams; for banks, it helps in reducing cash handling and costs; for merchants, it helps to speed-up transaction time and generate more transactions,” he adds.

“Ultimately, strong government support is going to be instrumental in driving uptake and making NFC and a cashless society a reality,” Amin says. He cites Singapore’s IDA (Infocomm Development Authority) as one such advocate: In February 2009, Singapore became the first country to give the go-ahead for the creation of a central Trusted Third Party (TTP) designed to deliver a fully interoperable, multi-application national NFC ecosystem. Then, in April 2009, IDA introduced subsidies for merchants to switch to contactless terminals in a bid to kickstart the market.

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