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According to eMarketer's latest proximity mobile payment forecast, mobile payment transactions in the US alone are expected to double to $62.49 billion in 2017 as digital technology advancements drive more consumers to use phones for point-of-sale payments. With mobile payment systems altering how people all over the world transact, mobile payment providers should adopt the latest mobile and digital technology trends to stay ahead of the pack.
Here are three digital trends expected to revolutionise mobile financial services (MFS) in 2017.
The bitcoin has been a volatile currency since its conception in 2008. In spite of its instability, however, more than 100,000 bitcoin transactions are taking place every day. This number continues to grow on the back of the bitcoin's transformative, peer-to-peer blockchain technology, which allows real-time information updates on inventory, sales and account changes.
The bitcoin is emerging to have the largest impact on the global remittance market, particularly in developing countries such as the Philippines where remittances help support families and communities. Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) reportedly sent home a total of $22.12 billion in the first 10 months of 2016 alone, with total monthly bitcoin remittances estimated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) at $2 million. The growing popularity of bitcoins in the Philippines has even prompted the BSP to draft new regulations on bitcoin remittances.
According to the World Bank, total remittances to developing countries amounted to $414 billion in 2015, up by 6.3 percent year-on-year. The organisation estimates the 2016 value at $540 billion.
With hefty charges eating up 7.60 percent of the total remittance value and the transfer process taking up five to six days, migrant workers are forced to look for alternative ways to send money to their home countries. This is where the bitcoin comes in. Bitcoin transactions can be verified, settled and signed within an hour without charges. The virtual money can then be converted back into conventional currency at a competitive exchange rate for recipients' withdrawal through their mobile phones or a bank account.
Indeed, it looks like the bitcoin paradigm shift in money transfer is ready to take the global mobile finance sector by storm.
Manufacturers are taking the mobile payment process a step further by enabling payment using wearable technology. In recent years, technology companies have been piloting and launching a wide range of innovative solutions that utilise multiple types of near-field communication (NFC)-enabled form factors, including rings, fobs and stickers in addition to wristbands and smart watches, as vehicles for mobile payments. Several banks have started participating in wearable tech trials while others have started tweaking their mobile banking apps for smart watches.
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