Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jump in APM's

APM's? Alternative payment methods that is. In a recent survey conducted by solution specialist company, Brulant, it was found that retailers are offering more and more APM to customers. As a matter of fact the growth reported is a staggering 25% more retailers in the past ten months. (Up from 24% to 30%). Payment methods like "Bill me Later", Paypal and Google Checkout have been the biggest gainers.

What intrigue me about this is "Why?" Why not just sticking with the good old Visa and MasterCard mechanisms? They have been serving us well for the past thirty years. What is different about the APM's and why would shoppers want to use alternative methods? I suggest three reasons:

1. Security. The existing credit card rules place a lot of risk on retailers. In the case of fraudulent transactions, retailers are often the biggest losers. Even though the credit card companies have done much to reduce this risk, the process is still onerous and places the retailer at a disadvantage.

2. Ease of subscription. The difference in enrolling for a credit card vs. getting a payment instrument and registering online is still too big. Especially for certain segments of the market enrolling for an APM is still much easier.

3. Degree of anonymity. Shoppers require a certain degree of anonymity for many services offered in virtual space.

Why talk about APM's on a Mobile Banking blog? Because Mobile payments solutions can surely be classified as an "APM", and many of the lessons of this study should be considered in the development of mobile payment solutions.

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