Mobile phones to replace our wallets

By 2011, over 200m mobile phone users will use their handset to make payments anywhere from shops to on public transport

The trend for using your mobile phone as an electronic wallet hasn't really taken off yet. But just a few years from now, 204 million mobile phone users around the world will be making mobile payments, a new report predicts.

As the developing world catches on to the trend towards mobile payment, the market for mobile transactions will increase rapidly, a Juniper Research report released today showed. The commercialisation of Near Field Communications (NFC) technology in 2009 will also help increase the market.

By 2011, mobile payments will be made by 204 million mobile phone users, and will generate some $22 billion (£10.9 billion). We'll mainly be using SMS-based person-to-person transfers and payments, the report predicted.

Much of the technology is already here, but issues relating to revenue share have yet to be finalised.


NFC is a kind of short-range wireless communication that securely transfers credits from your handset to an NFC reader. As devices featuring NFC become more common, and as more secure and easy-to-use applications become available, the "foundation for a healthy alternative to cash and other mainstream payment applications" will be created, the report said.

"The technology is available now to enable secure and fast payments to be initiated on the mobile phone," said Alan Goode, who wrote the Mobile Payment Strategies & Markets 2007-2011 report .

"The business model stills needs some work, but there are positive signals emanating from the industry that will create considerable revenue for all parts of the ecosystem."