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Mobile commerce, payments growing: mPayy exec

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April 1, 2010

Conrad Sheehan is CEO of mPayy

mPayy's new Android application

The top executive of mobile payments specialist mPayy discussed his company’s new Android application and the state of mobile commerce in an exclusive interview.

Hot trends in mobile commerce and payments include near field communication, virtual currencies, micropayments, location-based commerce and creating the best mobile check-out experience.

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Conrad Sheehan, CEO of mPayy, Chicago. Here is what he has to say:

What announcements did mPayy make at CTIA?
MPayy entered its new Android application into the CTIA Emerging Technology awards.

It provides the ability for non-members who download the Android application to open mPayy accounts, link their bank accounts, and activate their cell phones.

What challenges does mPayy address for its clients?
Our clients include Performance Plus Tire, iOffer and Tournament Games—mPayy provides low-cost debit payment solutions that cut transaction costs and help reduce fraud.

MPayy’s check-out model provides a seamless framework through which the customer does not leave the merchant Web site.

MPayy’s pipeline is full of digital subscription and gaming companies, for whom mPayy will provide low-cost recurring billing, as well as mobile invoicing via text message and check-out capabilities via a local application or mobile Web site.

MPayy also provides best-in-class merchants to access Web services for account management to fully white-label our platform.

What payments options do retailers/merchants have for mobile commerce sites and apps?
In addition to mPayy, Billing Revolution and PayPal have mobile payment gateways for commerce conducted through the mobile site.

The bill-to-carrier models are usually strictly for donations, or use the mobile device to authorize transactions for virtual currencies in online casual gaming, though some items like wallpapers and ringtones can be purchased for the device.

Which check-out mechanism(s) do you recommend?
Information should never be stored on the device. Rather, storing personal data on servers and authorizing with an ID and password is best.

Clearly, the most seamless shopping experience possible, such as calling mPayy’s APIs from either a mobile site or local application enables the customer to check out with minimal disruption.

What is the current state of mobile payments, and what is the potential for the rest of the year and beyond?
It depends on how you define mobile payments. Mobile commerce and shopping are growing.

EBay allows people to tend to time-sensitive auctions on the go. Fandango and Moviefone are driving transactions that are convenience driven.

As smartphone penetration continues to skyrocket, richer mobile shopping experiences will  will emerge, and mobile check-out systems will grow more important.

Near field communication has lots of investment, mostly from Visa and MasterCard, though slower merchant adoption than one would expect given the investment. It’s simply another manner of presenting credit cards, which have certain fundamental shortcomings.

Bill-to-carrier models have achieved great success to the tune of millions of transactions, but they are uniquely constrained to niche products like virtual currencies with zero costs of goods sold, and priced under $25 per month.

Mobile person-to-person payments that mPayy offers for free, and Obopay and PayPal also offer, are growing, but not explosively.

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at dan@mobilemarketer.com.

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