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Summary:

After many years of promise, mobile payments are finally finding their stride — but it’s not just one stride. In writing about the space, I admit I’ve been confused many times by what people actually mean when they say “mobile payments.” So here’s a glossary.

Cell phones represent the killer combination of their owner’s identity, presence and wallet — and they are nearly ubiquitous, with an estimated five billion global active subscriptions predicted before the end of 2010. As such, using phones to pay for things provides a huge growth opportunity in the mobile market. Generator Research recently predicted that the worldwide market for mobile payments would grow to $633.4 billion by 2014, up from $68.7 billion in 2009.
So, after many years of promise, mobile payments are finally finding their stride — but it’s not just one stride. In writing about the space, I admit I’ve been confused many times by what people actually mean when they say “mobile payments.” Is it when people buy things on their phone? Within a mobile application? Using their phone number? Using their physical handset? When they pay their bills from their phone? When they split a tab via text message?

The answer is yes — in fact, all of these are rapidly growing businesses. In the hopes that I could help other people more easily understand the mobile payments space, I spent some time talking to many of the players about their business. I then wrote a longer post for GigaOM Pro, our subscription research service, that lays out the different subsets, challenges and opportunities they face.

Companies mentioned in this feature include Allopass, Apple, AT&T, Bling Nation, Boku, ClairMail, Danal, Facebook, FeliCa Networks, Firethorn, Globe, mFoundry, Mopay, M-PESA, O2 Money, Oi Paggo, Obopay, Smart, Square, PayPal, Venmo, Verizon, Visa, ViVOtech and Zong. I hope you’ll check it out!

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  1. Mobile Payments: A Guide to the Growing Market in Your Pocket | Trial Pay Offers Selection and Help Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    [...] more: Mobile Payments: A Guide to a Growing Market in Your Pocket Uncategorized [...]

  2. i think the world is going there – mobile payments.

  3. I think this is more than huge. Especially for the affiliate marketing/performance marketing space. Imagine if there was a way to buy a Groupon coupon while you were walking around a mall. Massive!

  4. Sanjay Maharaj Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    The mor eoptions consumers have, the better it is. The mobile payment system makes absolute sense

  5. PayPal Cashing In On Mobile Commerce with Express Checkout Thursday, July 1, 2010

    [...] the new offering, PayPal is clearly going after a piece of that growing payment pie, and the company wisely expects that shopping on the go isn’t a passing fad. PayPal need only [...]

  6. Sharif Alexandre Monday, July 26, 2010

    While everyone agrees the idea of mobile payments is a good one in theory, questions of usability, security and interoperability have hindered its widespread adoption in the U.S.

    XIPWIRE (pronounced Zip Wire) is a mobile payment service that addresses all of these concerns with its text-based platform.

    More info on how XIPWIRE can turn any cell phone into a universal payment device can be found here:

    http://blogs.xipwire.com/2010/07/22/mobile-payments-why-sms-short-codes-are-a-must/

    More info how to use XIPWIRE to text cash can be found here:

    http://blogs.xipwire.com/2010/07/25/mobile-money-the-art-of-texting-cash/

  7. Money Continues To Chase Money on Mobiles Monday, August 2, 2010

    [...] brief window of opportunity. Either go big fast or go home. Earlier this year when she penned Mobile Payments: A guide to the growing market in your pocket, Liz noted, ”Cell phones represent the killer combination of their owner’s identity, [...]

  8. Phones Become Wallet | Tech Alps Monday, August 2, 2010

    [...] Cell phones represent the killer combination of their owner’s identity, presence and wallet. With an estimated five billion global active cell phone users today, the potential is huge. It is estimated that the worldwide market for mobile payments is going to grow to $633.4 billion by 2014. [...]

  9. Twitter Places: to check-in or not to check-in? Monday, September 13, 2010

    [...] Mobile Payments: A Guide to the Growing Market in Your Pocket [...]

  10. PayPal Bets Its Future on Mobile: Tech News « Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    [...] the third — and most importantly, neutral — option for buying stuff on your handset. Mobile payments are viewed as a the next big gold rush on the Internet and have attracted millions of dollars in funding. [...]

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