Mobile Money – The end of Exchanging Currencies?

Currency Exchange could be a thing of the past with mobile money and payments

Mobile money and mobile payments seem to quickly be becoming the future of payments around the world.

Already, China looks set to overtake the US in terms of how much it uses mobile payment platforms in consumer spending. There also seems to be a noticeable growth in what users expect from their mobile money and banking platforms moving forward – with a large focus upon making payments easily while shopping.

Security has always remained a concern amongst users in the west, but for those out in emerging nations such as Sub-Saharan Africa as well as more financially established nations with large numbers of unbanked; mobile payments are helping bank the unbanked in new and attractive ways.

Heck, mobile money has been making waves around the world with Britons spending over £234m through mobile payment platforms on mobile and online games alone. Even Kenya owes over half of its annual GDP to mobile payment platforms!

They've become such a prominent part of the payments industry that payments power player, MasterCard, have become wary of letting them get away with not paying fees to the big players on each transaction.

Naturally, the expansion of mobile money, banking and payment technologies leads me to believe that we could one day end up having an entirely unified digital currency around the world. At least, for the end user that's what it would look like.

Obviously a single world currency would never happen, it would be detrimental to trading and the world economy. But that's not what I'm suggesting. Instead, imagine a world where you can go abroad – anywhere in the world – and pay for anything with your mobile phone; be it through NFC technology, direct mobile payment services like PayPal's Check-In service, or something as simple as texting a code or scanning (shudder) a QR code to make a payment.

For the end user this would be a seamless system. They'd walk out of their home, paying for things in a way they feel comfortable and then arrive in another country – halfway around the world – being able to do exactly the same thing without having to deal with the fuss of exchanging currencies or carrying around vast amounts of foreign money while on holiday.

For payment services and retailers such an end position is incredibly lucrative too as users would be far more willing to spend their money if it was as simple as it is at home. They'd also feel more comfortable spending money if there wasn't a horrendous fee for using mobile payments abroad – something that happens a lot with card payments.

It could well be a utopian pipe dream that never comes to fruition, but its definitely where I see the future of payments going. Now the worlds payment technologies just have to come together to see the vast potential such a sector holds.

Do you agree that this would indeed be a lucrative market to explore?

Could it ever be achieved with our current level of mobile technology coverage, or would more investment need to be made?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.


The future of payments and payment technologies is still a mystery to many, but it's a discussion that's being held at length at Cards & Payments Asia 2013 and Cards & Payments Australasia – as well as in our own LinkedIn poll. You can download the brochures for both Cards & Payments Asia and Cards & Payments Australasia for free to find out more.


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