Don’t limit mobile payments to an online environment

Mobile giant, Orange, in partnership with Barclaycard, is due to launch what it claims to be the UK’s first true mobile payment service that will allow you to purchase items like your lunchtime sandwiches, your newspaper, a cup of coffee, or anything at all, so long as the value is £15 or less, simply by waving your mobile phone at a locally installed scanning machine.

This type of contactless payment could have a significant impact on our shopping habits in the not so distant future, but do mobile payments really need to be limited to sophisticated handsets? They may well be growing in popularity, but by enlarge, their penetration is still low in relative terms, so you could potentially be alienating a large portion of the population. Retailers want to take full advantage of mobile phones as a payment mechanism for the forthcoming Olympics – which are only 12 months away. Will everyone have a Smartphone in time?

According to recent research, SMS still forms a major part of mobile advertising campaigns because, unlike other e-campaigns, you dependant on a reliable 3G signal or interaction from the user. SMS messages are delivered as soon as they are sent and push themselves directly at consumers, who are not required to do anything, other than read the message.

Retailers wanting to embrace mobile technology and contactless payments should perhaps take this into account when they are introducing new marketing initiatives in order to boost sales.

Vodafone and London Taxis have certainly recognised an immediate opportunity by allowing customers who have run out of cash to send a text with the vehicle’s license number to a central code and the amount owed is charged to their phone account.

SMS-based wallets have certainly come into their own in Kenya, where almost half of the adult population uses an SMS-based payment and transfer mechanism (known as M-Pesa) to transfer money to relatives, to pay for their shopping or simply to pay their utility bills. Users don’t even need to have a bank account – which is very costly in Kenya. All they need is normal mobile phone and an M-Pesa account.

SMS also plays an important part in mobile advertising campaigns because it can be used for sending vouchers or promotional codes that consumers can redeem while they are shopping.

What does SMS have to offer?

  • It is cheap
  • It is direct
  • It has enormous marketing reach
  • It allows for easy interaction
  • It complements many other marketing campaigns
  • It allows you to be targeted

At we have been providing online SMS applications to a variety of different industries in the UK for the last 5 years. Our online SMS gateway can be seamlessly integrated with many back- office infrastructures via a developers API, allowing you to take advantage of this new trend.

We pride ourselves in developing applications for niche requirements, so if our standard services are not what you’re looking for, please get in touch so we can work with you to develop a solution that meets your exact needs.

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