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News - 28 January 2011

Opportunity in the mobile wallet

A new generation of mobile phones equipped with near field communication (NFC) technology is set to revolutionise the way we decide what products to buy, where we choose to buy them and how we choose to pay. But how is the industry going to set up the infrastructure to facilitate the use of this new technology. A new report entitled 'NFC Business Models', explores some of the possiblities.

The new NFC phones contain a high security chip known as a secure element which acts like an electronic version of your wallet and can be used to replace everything from credit cards and loyalty cards to bus and train tickets, library cards, door keys, coupons and even cash.

The tiny secure element chips can be built into mobile phones and other devices by the manufacturer, they can be integrated into SIM cards issued by mobile networks to their subscribers and they can be added to existing phones via special microSD cards or stickers issued by banks and other organisations.

"Whoever provides a consumer with a secure element can then generate new revenues by leasing space on the chip to other businesses that also want to offer next-generation mobile services to their customers," says Sarah Clark, author of 'NFC Business Models'.

"Mobile network operators, banks, handset manufacturers and technology providers around the world are all planning to create major new revenue streams by providing consumers with these mobile wallets," she explains. "But understanding of the business models that are most likely to succeed is still in its early days and there will be winners as well as losers in the NFC revolution.”

'NFC Business Models' explains in detail the latest thinking from around the world on how to implement the five fundamental building blocks required to make an NFC service a success. These are:

  • the core infrastructure that will form the backbone upon which NFC services are delivered;
  • the business models available to the mobile network operators, banks and handset manufacturers who will provide consumers with their mobile wallets;
  • the issues involved and strategies for success in the NFC payments market; gaining buy-in from consumers and from service providers;
  • the launch strategies that are most likely to succeed.

The 'NFC Business Models' research report addresses key questions facing the industry today including:

  • How can merchants be persuaded to adopt the contactless payments terminals required to support NFC transactions?
  • What are the benefits to banks of providing NFC services — and do the benefits outweigh the costs involved?
  • What kind of pricing models will need to be offered to service providers — and will they be sufficient to cover the costs of developing and making available an NFC service delivery platform and of issuing NFC devices to consumers?
  • Will consumers be willing to pay for an NFC mobile wallet? And what kind of services will they want to use?

"Many companies are looking to profit from NFC," says Clark. "Global organisations like Apple, Google, Visa, PayPal and Facebook are all working on this technology, along with retailers, travel firms, public transport operators, financial institutions, brands, car manufacturers, security firms, central and local government, marketers and advertisers — even your local supermarket.

"The stakes are high and success will rely on meeting the needs of three key groups — consumers, merchants and the widest possible range of service providers," Clark explains. "The companies that succeed will be those that take the time to gain an understanding of the needs of each of the parties involved and then design an infrastructure that provides a win:win:win solution for all."

'NFC Business Models' provides companies looking to benefit from the arrival of NFC with the information needed to understand the issues, identify their options and develop a strategy for success. The 170-page research report is available to purchase today for £797 (US$1,258/€924).

Further information, a full table of contents and online ordering facilities are available at

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