It is hard to call mobile payments new, but since the launch of Apple Pay at the end of last year, the sector has gained momentum among hardware developers, payment processors, telecom firms and retail companies. The current interest has been focused not on the value mobile payments provide users compared to cash and credit cards, but a land grab to create the payment networks of the future and the potential revenues involved.
At the ongoing Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, this trend was apparent with fintech in the form of mobile payments being introduced by several global leaders. On Sunday, in its introduction to the Galaxy S6, Samsung unveiled Samsung Pay. The product provides contactless payments via NFC and traditional point of sale technology. In addition, Samsung introduced what they call Magnetic Secure Transmission technology which allows users to make payments with their phone using traditional credit card register processors without needing to swipe a card. Similar to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay works with users connecting their credit cards to the system, with payments authorized via fingerprint identification.
One of the advantages for hardware providers like Apple and Samsung that integrate payment software on their phones is that it reduces friction of sales for their other products. In this regard, Apple already dominates via sales of apps, songs and movies on iTunes. For Samsung, adding payments will assist them in widening the potential customers of their much smaller apps store.
Also at MWC, LG Uplus Vice Chairman Lee Sang-Chul stated that the company views significant opportunities between its mobile and fintech services. Speaking to the Korea Times, Lee stated, “The rise of new technologies, alternative business models and business-to-business markets is creating new financial services, expediting disintermediation of existing financial services in various industries.” He added, “We will soon learn about the future of the rapidly changing financial services sector and how financial institutions will react to this change.”
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Part of LG’s fintech strategy is the promotion of its mobile payments system, Paynow, which they are integrating not just into smartphones and tablets, but also wearables. Another factor for LG is that unlike many hardware manufactures which rely on Android, LG is producing products for various mobile operating systems, while allowing their proprietary payment software to be usable regardless of the operating system. Separate from Lee’s comments, LG also related at MWC that it was working on adding fingerprint technology to its phones.
Elsewhere, Visa, Accenture and Pizza Hut showed off an in-car food-ordering system at MWC. The proof-of-concept product is meant to show some of the potential applications for connected cars in the future. According to Visa’s estimates, the payment company expects more than 250 million vehicles by 2020 to have embedded technology.
The ordering system uses Visa’s online payment solution, Visa Checkout, and cellular connectivity. It connects to Pizza Hut with Beacon technology located in their test stores. Accenture’s role is in the development of the applications and technical foundation that the ordering system operates on. (video demo below)