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Mobile payments predicted to skyrocket

By Seamus McAfee

Mobile payment transactions are expected to catapult to nearly 4.5 billion in 2012 -- a 429 percent increase from an estimated 850 million in 2009, consulting firm Gartner Inc. predicted in a May 28 report by CardLine Global (subscription required).

Most of the 2012 transactions would occur with the same SMS text messaging technology that is used in 2009, Gartner said, but the company also predicted an upswing in Near Field Communication (NFC), which could make up 1.3 billion mobile payments in three years.

NFC works by turning mobile phones into contactless payment devices that can also download information from other NFC chips. However, the technology could be hindered by the lack of mobile devices that support it, and the expense by merchants who would need to install NFC terminals, said Gartner analyst Tole Hart in a CardLine Global interview. Gartner predicts NFC phones will not really be a large presence until late 2010, assuming the global recession doesn't delay it even further.

Among the worldwide adoption of mobile payment technology, Gartner said the burgeoning numbers in Asia will cause it to "lead the world in the number of mobile-payment users and transctions in 2012."

See related: Merchants eye mobile phones to transact card payments, Bank of America to test cell phone credit cards, Visa outlines plans for cell phone credit cards, Cell phone + contactless credit card = Yak, wave, buy, 'Contactless' credit cards spark concerns for data privacy, Contactless credit cards 'floundering'

Published: June 5, 2009

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