Mobile Pay Scores With Business Users

As mobile payment technology slowly secures deeper integration into mainstream purchasing practices, industry experts are finding that business users of mobile payment may prove crucial to the successful penetration of products like Apple Pay.

A new survey by Timetric, for example, found that more than half of the 300 business professionals surveyed said they use their mobile phones for payments. Users in Asia Pacific revealed a bit higher integration, with 58 percent using the technology, compared with 56 percent in North America and 46 percent in Europe.

These statistics, however, include the use of cheaper mobile phones for simple banking, and not necessarily smartphone mobile payment applications.

“Mobile payments have already improved the lives of millions of unbanked people in the developing world – usually through cheap non-smart phones,” said Timetric’s Cards and Payments Intelligence Center analyst Miguel Stein. “In some mature markets, in-store mobile transactions have increased substantially, but they are mainly limited to quick low-value payments, such as purchasing fast food or coffee.”

The statistics are increasing, however, and Stein predicted that the U.S. is “likely to become the most advanced mobile payments market in the next two years,” and its market also has the most advanced design of any other. Cloud computing, he said, is key to integrating mobile payments within business functions, and will likely play a significant role in mobile payment adoption in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The lower adoption of smartphones outside the U.S., however, is likely to stifle the adoption of high-tech mobile payment services offered from conglomerates like Apple and Google. And while these corporations head the market, Stein added that local mobile payment services are likely to take the lead within individual nations thanks to their existing partnerships with local banks.

Overall, whether it’s through high-tech, mainstream services like Apple Pay or simpler banking services through basic mobile phones, mobile financial services are increasing among business professionals, Timetric’s research found. According to the survey, nearly half (47 percent) of the respondents said they prefer cashless payments. Forty-one percent of respondents said that the adoption of smartphones, tablets and the Internet has led them to increase their mobile payment use.

The business travel community is in an especially beneficial position to adopt mobile payments, experts say. Reports have highlighted the trend among corporate travel managers eager to explore how mobile payments can streamline their operations.