Mobile money services on the rise worldwide as Apple eyes Touch ID payment system

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2014
If Apple is able to drive adoption of its rumored iTunes-backed mobile payment system among wealthy consumers at the same pace as similar systems in the developing world, it could be one of the company's most important -- and profitable -- strategic moves.

Touch ID


The rise of mobile money accounts -- deposit and payment facilities that center around a mobile phone -- in the developing world may best be described as "meteoric." As of last June, nearly 250 mobile money providers in 89 countries around the world counted some 60 million active users.

Nine countries in Africa have more mobile money accounts than bank accounts; Tanzania alone accounted for almost 100 million mobile money transactions worth nearly $2 billion last December.
"I feel like a caveman who's just been handed a Bic lighter" -- Businessweek's Charles Graber on paying with a mobile phone in Kenya
These statistics, compiled by Leo Mirani of Quartz, point to the collective desire of a huge portion of the world's population to move beyond traditional payment methods and conduct real-world transactions with a mobile device. With 800 million credit card-enabled accounts in iTunes and a secure authentication system in Touch ID, Apple has the makings of a formidable entry.

Apple's target market would be different, of course. Many African mobile money users bring home less than $300 per month, making them unlikely targets for even the least-expensive iPhone, and would otherwise be making payments using cash.

The iPhone maker's customers, meanwhile, are generally wealthy and already used to relying on electronic payments in the form of credit cards and web payment services like PayPal. Still, the processes are relatively insecure and often clunky, making the worldwide payments ecosystem ripe for disruption.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has publicly stated his company's interest in the area, telling reporters that "the mobile payments area in general is one we've been intrigued with" and that "it was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID" during the company's quarterly results conference call in January.




Many industry observers believe that Apple's entry could come as soon as this fall with the next-generation iPhone. The so-called "iPhone 6" has been rumored to include near-field communications technology, a short-range wireless data transfer standard that powers nearly every modern contactless payments system and has shown few worthwhile use cases outside of that arena.

Such a system could make Apple the most popular mobile money account provider in the world nearly from day one, thanks to the company's sheer size -- Apple sells more than 30 million iPhones each quarter, and almost everyone who buys an iPhone ties it to a credit card-backed iTunes account.

In addition to short-term gains, the stage would also be set for long-term growth. As consumers in developing nations -- already accustomed to handset-based payments -- grow wealthier and look to more powerful devices, an "iPay" system could be a powerful differentiator from rivals like Android and Windows Phone.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Curious- why is mobile payment so popular in the developing countries and essentially non-existent in the developed nations?

     

    It couldn't be strictly because of the internet cafes, could it?

  • Reply 3 of 27
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

     

    Curious- why is mobile payment so popular in the developing countries and essentially non-existent in the developed nations?

     

    It couldn't be strictly because of the internet cafes, could it?


    Answered my own question.  Interesting read:

     

    Why does Kenya lead the world in mobile money?

  • Reply 4 of 27
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,081member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

     

    Answered my own question.  Interesting read:

     

    Why does Kenya lead the world in mobile money?


    I think the key issue here is how much Banks (and therefore cheques and credit cards) are mistrusted in the 2nd and 3rd world countries.

     

    in a related business note, the gov't lotteries in Central and South America almost all run via Mobile Payments exclusively.   

     

    This is why an Apple can provide effective (better than current) Proof of Identity via a TouchID enabled phone, for 30% of the 'transaction fee'.  Android phones may be able to do it as well, but if there are 100's of platforms, it may be hard to support, compared to one implementation on one architecture in iOS.

  • Reply 5 of 27
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

     

    Curious- why is mobile payment so popular in the developing countries and essentially non-existent in the developed nations?

     

    It couldn't be strictly because of the internet cafes, could it?


    Answered my own question.  Interesting read:

     

    Why does Kenya lead the world in mobile money?


    That's an interesting article. I think the developed world will prefer credit cards for the foreseeable future. They are safer, accepted in more countries, allow for returned merchandise, have fraud protection, provide automatic short term loans, and the CC company can also serve as an arbitrator if things don't work out. For business credit cards are the only way to go. One thing I do like about the Kenya example is that it allows payments between private individuals which credit cards don't usually allow. PayPal is also a nice system, which works for individuals and small businesses.

  • Reply 6 of 27
    schlackschlack Posts: 708member
    This is why an Apple can provide effective (better than current) Proof of Identity via a TouchID enabled phone, for 30% of the 'transaction fee'. Android phones may be able to do it as well, but if there are 100's of platforms, it may be hard to support, compared to one implementation on one architecture in iOS.

    They won't take 30%. If they can pull in 1% they will be rolling in the money.
  • Reply 7 of 27
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,403moderator
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ridgeydidge View Post



    What if Touch ID was integrated into the display of the iWatch?

    http://www.unwiredview.com/2013/11/25/apples-plans-for-touch-id-trackpad-for-5-iphones-all-display-as-fingerprint-scanner-more-in-a-patent-app/

     

    I think in the short term Apple could just create a link between your iPhone and your iWatch (a one-time process when you initially purchase a new iPhone or iWatch), then have the iPhone's TouchID act to unlock both the phone and the iWatch.  Here is how I think that would work.  Your iWatch has apps on it that connect to your iPhone and use its cellular or wifi connection to provide data to the iWatch apps.  For most iWatch apps, this just happens automatically.  But for an iWatch app that transmits confidential data, like when you use the iWatch to pay for something or when you use the iWatch to gain access to a protected area of your workplace, for example, then the iWatch needs to be authenticated as being on YOUR wrist and not some other person's wrist.  and the way that happens is that at some point after you strap it on, you use your iPhone to authenticate it.  Perhaps it even prompts you to do so at the time you strap it on (by asking you to touch the TouchId on your iPhone).  you can ignore this request and go about your business, but you will need to authenticate if you subsequently take some action with the iWatch that requires authentication.  Once you have authenticated the iWatch, it could remain authenticated until you take it off, at which time the current authentication would expire.  So you use the iPhone to authenticate the watch once its on your wrist, then use the watch to authenticate you to security and payment systems.  No TouchId needs to be built into the iWatch.  Cool, eh?

  • Reply 8 of 27
    andysol wrote: »
    Curious- why is mobile payment so popular in the developing countries and essentially non-existent in the developed nations?

    It couldn't be strictly because of the internet cafes, could it?

    It's called "mobile payment" because you are not sitting at a computer.

    All those countries have millions of dollars they need to transfer out of the country that belonged to dead people that have no descendants. I've had dozens of lawyers from Nigeria alone want me to help them. It's tragic, I tell you!
  • Reply 9 of 27
    If Apple is able to drive adoption of its rumored iTunes-backed mobile payment system among wealthy consumers at the same pace as similar systems in the developing world, it could be one of the company's most important -- and profitable -- strategic moves.

    The rise of mobile money accounts -- deposit and payment facilities that center around a mobile phone -- in the developing world may best be described as "meteoric." As of last June, nearly 250 mobile money providers in 89 countries around the world counted some 60 million active users.

    Apple's target market would be different, of course. Many African mobile money users bring home less than $300 per month, making them unlikely targets for even the least-expensive iPhone, and would otherwise be making payments using cash.

    Cash...but also goats, lots of goats, and chickens
    The iPhone maker's customers, meanwhile, are generally wealthy and already used to relying on electronic payments in the form of credit cards and web payment services like PayPal. Still, the processes are relatively insecure and often clunky, making the worldwide payments ecosystem ripe for disruption.

    Many industry observers believe that Apple's entry could come as soon as this fall with the next-generation iPhone. The so-called "iPhone 6" <a href="http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/04/09/apple-reportedly-plans-high-res-55-iphone-6-all-new-47-model-for-later-this-year">has been rumored</a> to include near-field communications technology, a short-range wireless data transfer standard that powers nearly every modern contactless payments system and has shown few worthwhile use cases outside of that arena.

    The near-field communications will happen with Apple when pigs fly. Apple will introduce their own system that they will totally control and it will come to dominate.
    Such a system could make Apple the most popular mobile money account provider in the world nearly from day one, thanks to the company's sheer size -- Apple sells more than 30 million iPhones each quarter, and almost everyone who buys an iPhone ties it to a credit card-backed iTunes account.

    In addition to short-term gains, the stage would also be set for long-term growth. As consumers in developing nations -- already accustomed to handset-based payments -- grow wealthier and look to more powerful devices, an "iPay" system could be a powerful differentiator from rivals like Android and Windows Phone.

    And one phone will rule them all... by September Apple will have an established base of about 150 million iTouch enabled iPhones. I would expect, if one includes the new iPads with iTouch, that a year later that number to be more then doubled... perhaps as much as 400 million installed base of iPhones and iPads with many of those in enterprise environments.
  • Reply 10 of 27
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by schlack View Post



    This is why an Apple can provide effective (better than current) Proof of Identity via a TouchID enabled phone, for 30% of the 'transaction fee'. Android phones may be able to do it as well, but if there are 100's of platforms, it may be hard to support, compared to one implementation on one architecture in iOS.



    They won't take 30%. If they can pull in 1% they will be rolling in the money.

    I like the idea of Apple authorizing the transaction against your card on file at iTunes. The hurdle is to how to gain widespread acceptance and get custom Touch ID compatible payment terminals in businesses. Accepting credit cards costs the seller 2-3% when the physical card is swiped or as high as 8-9% in circumstances where the card might be from a different country and charged without the card being present. That processing fee is paid by the business making the sale, to their merchant gateway company. Somewhere in there Apple would need to get a cut. But technically, Apple is just another company accepting credit cards, not a bank.

  • Reply 11 of 27
    I agree that mobile payment isn't going to be a reality until TouchID is pervasive. Find my iPhone and Remote Wipe are important to curb phone theft, but you want to prevent a theft from making mobile purchases, while maximizing convenience for the legitimate user. TouchID is part of that equation.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    blazarblazar Posts: 270member
    GO GO gadget BOOTS!

    If they announce payments via iphone/iwatch, my apple stock is going to pay my mortgage!

    1. Payments
    2. Identity verification
    3. Location services within the home
    4. Health monitoring / medical emergency records
    5. Security
    6. Home automation
    7. Car control + unlock/lock via watch (replace keyfobs)
    8. Improved cloud integration and backup solutions

    Trust me, no matter what google or anyone else does, apple is doing just fine...
  • Reply 13 of 27
    stargazerctstargazerct Posts: 227member
    I'm liking the idea, but I honestly cringe every time Apple advertises how many credit cards iTunes has. It's like telling the hacker community that the jackpot is here if you can crack us.

    I've just come to believe that anything can be hacked today no matter how secure a company claims it to be. If someone can create the encryption...someone can break it. Is Apple so secure there's nothing to worry about or are they playing with fire bragging about the goods they hold?
  • Reply 14 of 27
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,001member
    andysol wrote: »
    Curious- why is mobile payment so popular in the developing countries and essentially non-existent in the developed nations?

    It couldn't be strictly because of the internet cafes, could it?

    Technology in developed countries advances in increments, and a developing country can wait until a technology matures to roll it out and leap frog past a developed country.
  • Reply 15 of 27
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,081member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    I like the idea of Apple authorizing the transaction against your card on file at iTunes. The hurdle is to how to gain widespread acceptance and get custom Touch ID compatible payment terminals in businesses. Accepting credit cards costs the seller 2-3% when the physical card is swiped or as high as 8-9% in circumstances where the card might be from a different country and charged without the card being present. That processing fee is paid by the business making the sale, to their merchant gateway company. Somewhere in there Apple would need to get a cut. But technically, Apple is just another company accepting credit cards, not a bank.


    It won't be touchID compatible... just an Internet connection with local wifi for the transaction to work.    The Point of Sale at Store X will need to 

    1) Pass the amount to the iPhone (Bluetooth most likely), and a crypto-signed proof of store identity, with time stamp

    2) iPhone TouchIDs through the Passbook allowing payment source to be selected

    3) Sends to Apple a request to Pay X, encrypted in User Y's TouchID exposed key, and in Apple's public Key (embedded on the phone), with it's time stamp.

    4) If all signatures are okay Apple sends a credit to the store account less its fee, debits (or forwards the xaction to the payment card) the amount, and sends back an Transaction Okay (with timestamps) to both buyer and seller.

     

    Effectively all parties are authenticated to each other in this way, and nearly impossible to replicate without the phone and the finger.

  • Reply 16 of 27
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

     
    It won't be touchID compatible... just an Internet connection with local wifi for the transaction to work.    The Point of Sale at Store X will need to 

    1) Pass the amount to the iPhone (Bluetooth most likely), and a crypto-signed proof of store identity, with time stamp

    2) iPhone TouchIDs through the Passbook allowing payment source to be selected

    3) Sends to Apple a request to Pay X, encrypted in User Y's TouchID exposed key, and in Apple's public Key (embedded on the phone), with it's time stamp.

    4) If all signatures are okay Apple sends a credit to the store account less its fee, debits (or forwards the xaction to the payment card) the amount, and sends back an Transaction Okay (with timestamps) to both buyer and seller.

     

    Effectively all parties are authenticated to each other in this way, and nearly impossible to replicate without the phone and the finger.


    I don't really follow all that, but my question is how do the accounts work? The merchant has an account with his bank, Apple has an account with their bank, and the buyer has an account with their bank. There is one extra step in the middle with the new Touch ID process compared to the traditional credit card transaction. As I mentioned before Apple is just another company accepting credit cards, not a bank.

     

    For example when you buy something on the App Store or iTunes, Apple deposits your payment and keeps 30% then makes a payment to the record label or the developer, but those are entities that have a business relationship already established with Apple. If I take a cab or buy a sandwich at the deli, those businesses are not going to be Apple partners, so Apple has no idea how to send them the money.  In traditional cc transactions the buyer's card info goes directly to the merchant's bank, which then debits the buyers account at some other bank. The banks all have established relationships integrated through VISA, MC, AMEX, etc. It seems to me that Apple needs to be a federally licensed bank with SWIFT code, FDIC, auditing, etc for this new payment system to work.

  • Reply 17 of 27
    I'm looking forward to the day when I can Touch ID authorize every transaction I make. Users will not want to enter info manually. And retailers like amazon will essentially be forced to adopt Apple's tech. Because once again 'only Apple' controls the hardware and the software that it runs. Sure others may catch up in time. But 'only Apple' has TouchID and no competitor seems to be able to come close at this point.
  • Reply 18 of 27
    mstone wrote: »
    I don't really follow all that, but my question is how do the accounts work? The merchant has an account with his bank, Apple has an account with their bank, and the buyer has an account with their bank. There is one extra step in the middle with the new Touch ID process compared to the traditional credit card transaction. As I mentioned before Apple is just another company accepting credit cards, not a bank.

    For example when you buy something on the App Store or iTunes, Apple deposits your payment and keeps 30% then makes a payment to the record label or the developer, but those are entities that have a business relationship already established with Apple. If I take a cab or buy a sandwich at the deli, those businesses are not going to be Apple partners, so Apple has no idea how to send them the money.  In traditional cc transactions the buyer's card info goes directly to the merchant's bank, which then debits the buyers account at some other bank. The banks all have established relationships integrated through VISA, MC, AMEX, etc. It seems to me that Apple needs to be a federally licensed bank with SWIFT code, FDIC, auditing, etc for this new payment system to work.
    Look at it this way, imagine the manufacturer of one of those credit card swiping machines came out with a ground breaking technology in such demand by everyone that all the CC companies were pressured into adopting it. Now let's say the demand was so high that the manufacturer of the swiping machine could demand a cut of the fee each CC company takes from a transaction...

    That is essentially what Apple is going for, to be the transaction facilitator.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,001member
    Look at it this way, imagine the manufacturer of one of those credit card swiping machines came out with a ground breaking technology in such demand by everyone that all the CC companies were pressured into adopting it. Now let's say the demand was so high that the manufacturer of the swiping machine could demand a cut of the fee each CC company takes from a transaction...

    That is essentially what Apple is going for, to be the transaction facilitator.

    Except it's not the CC companies that would be pressured into adopting it, but the merchants.
  • Reply 20 of 27
    staigardstaigard Posts: 26member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post

     

     

    I think in the short term Apple could just create a link between your iPhone and your iWatch (a one-time process when you initially purchase a new iPhone or iWatch), then have the iPhone's TouchID act to unlock both the phone and the iWatch.  Here is how I think that would work.  Your iWatch has apps on it that connect to your iPhone and use its cellular or wifi connection to provide data to the iWatch apps.  For most iWatch apps, this just happens automatically.  But for an iWatch app that transmits confidential data, like when you use the iWatch to pay for something or when you use the iWatch to gain access to a protected area of your workplace, for example, then the iWatch needs to be authenticated as being on YOUR wrist and not some other person's wrist.  and the way that happens is that at some point after you strap it on, you use your iPhone to authenticate it.  Perhaps it even prompts you to do so at the time you strap it on (by asking you to touch the TouchId on your iPhone).  you can ignore this request and go about your business, but you will need to authenticate if you subsequently take some action with the iWatch that requires authentication.  Once you have authenticated the iWatch, it could remain authenticated until you take it off, at which time the current authentication would expire.  So you use the iPhone to authenticate the watch once its on your wrist, then use the watch to authenticate you to security and payment systems.  No TouchId needs to be built into the iWatch.  Cool, eh?


     

    I think Radarthekat is stop on here. 

     

          One advantage of the above system is that you will never leave your iPhone behind in a bar again. Your iWatch will give you a warning when the distance between iWatch and iPhone becomes so great that the bluetooth signal drops out.  

     

        I will be very interested to see what technique Apple use to ensure that the iWatch is attached to your wrist. Some sort of electrical circuit around the band is the obvious solution. However there are quite a number of other possibilities.

Sign In or Register to comment.