Mobile Payments

Facebook targets mobile payments in Europe via Irish e-payments license

It’s been almost 2 years since I wrote about the new payment function in the Facebook Messenger app but it finally looks like the feature might be coming to Europe too after the company has secured an e-payments license from the Central Bank of Ireland.

Facebook payments

The Central Bank of Ireland’s register shows that the license was authorised to Facebook Payments International Limited (FBPIL) in October for “e-money issuance” and “payment services.” An Irish license would apply throughout the other 27 European Union member states.

In the short term, it means that Facebook Messenger will be able to roll out its peer-to-peer payment features in Europe, letting users send money to friends via the Messenger app (see below), but in the future this could also include payments to businesses as well.

For an insight in to what might be possible in the future, check out this example of two friends talking about, searching for, booking and paying for flights all within Messenger!

Posted by Rob in e-Commerce, Mobile Payments

The slow and steady growth of ‘mobile payments’

I’ve written quite a bit about mobile payments over the years (here, here, here and here for starters) and it seems that it’s a space that continues to progress ahead, albeit at a relatively slow pace.

A new report from Visa Europe outlines that an ever-increasing amount of people are starting to use a mobile device to make payments in some form. Hardly surprising.

  • The number of Europeans regularly using a mobile device for payments has tripled since 2015 (54% vs 18%)
  • 74% of British consumers are ‘Mobile Payments users’ – people who manage their money or make payments using a mobile device
  • The fastest growth rate for mobile banking adoption is with 55-64 year olds

While more and more people are becoming ‘mobile payments users’, this seems to be a pretty vague term mainly encompassing users who make monthly in-app bill payments and the like. Frequency is overlooked.

The fact that more people are using mobile devices to make payments is great and all, but whether you sit on your couch and book a flight on your laptop or on your mobile phone doesn’t really make much of a difference.

The real disruption to be made re: mobile payments is at the point of sale. And it seems that this still has a pretty long way to go.

This Business Insider graph from more than 2 years ago has actually proven to be quite accurate. Mobile in-store payments are continuing to account for a growing proportion of all e-Commerce payments, but we have certainly not yet reached what you might call a tipping point.

Even with the same slow and steady growth of the past couple of years, we will continue to see mobile making an increasing impact in brick-and-mortar retail sales. Although it could be another couple of years before this truly becomes the norm.


Posted by Rob in e-Commerce, Mobile Payments, NFC

Instagram joins the advertising party at long last

It’s been a long time coming, but it finally looks like Instagram are in the process of super-charging their advertising and selling capacity by launching a number of features over the coming weeks that will make them a much more viable option when it comes to digital advertising.

Firstly, the social network is rolling out a new API software platform that lets marketing partners and smaller brands automate the advertising process, a feature which has been sorely lacking from the platform since it’s launch. This will utilize the targeting and measurability power of their parent company Facebook, giving advertisers a lot more options and control when it comes to accessing it’s users. It will allow advertisers to target users based on more than just their age and gender, also using interests gleaned from their Facebook profiles.


So far Instagram has only run campaigns for big name brands like Disney, Electronic Arts, The Gap, Ben and Jerry’s, Michael Kors and Taco Bell. This move will open the platform up to small and medium businesses everywhere. With Instagram claiming to have more than 300 million active users worldwide, and a particularly avid user base in the Middle East, now it’s time for advertisers to stand up and take note.

As part of this revenue generating push, the platform is also including ‘Shop Now’ and ‘Book Now’ style buttons that let users carry out a purchase action straight from their feed. Instagram have been experimenting with this feature for a couple of months with brands like Banana Republic running ‘carousel ads’ featuring a slideshow of images that end with a button for viewing additional content. Banana Republic used its links to take viewers to a product page. It was the first time a retailer was able to send consumers directly to where they could buy products they saw in an Instagram ad.

With Pinterest also beginning to roll out a similar type of ‘Buy Now’ feature, it looks like we are slowly reaching the age of real monetization on social platforms, i.e. not solely relying on user eye-balls and advertising revenue. With these types of features rolling out on more and more platforms at the moment, the current de facto duopoly of Facebook and Google will start getting a run for their money when it comes to launching digital campaigns, which can only be a good thing for advertisers.

It looks like we are witnessing somewhat of a sea-change in the social selling space. The floodgates are opening.

Your move Snapchat!

Posted by Rob in e-Commerce, Mobile Payments, Social Media

Facebook to facilitate mobile payments via Messenger app

This has been predicted for a while by some in the know, but it still comes as a bit of a left-field play. Today, Facebook announced that they are to facilitate mobile payments via their Messenger app. The implications here could be massive with it being the first of the big social networks to really make a stab at P2P mobile payments – social payments if you will.

Here’s how it works, the first time you send or receive money in Messenger, you’ll need to add a Visa or MasterCard debit card that’s been issued by a US bank to your account. Once you add a debit card, you can create a PIN to provide additional security the next time you send money. On iOS devices you can also enable Touch ID.

To send money:

  1. Start a message with a friend
  2. Tap the $ icon and enter the amount you want to send
  3. Tap Pay in the top right and add your debit card to send money

To receive money:

  1. Open the conversation from your friend
  2. Tap Add Card in the message and add your debit card to accept money for the first time

For years, there was very little movement in this space, despite the technology being in place (my MSc. thesis from back in 2012 discusses this), but with Apple Pay gaining momentum, Samsung acquiring Loop Pay as a response, and now the social networks getting involved, [whisper it] 2015 could finally be the year that mobile payments start to become common place . The feature will be rolled out over the next couple of months in the US to begin with, but expect it to be launched worldwide in quick succession once people start using it.

Posted by Rob in Facebook, Mobile Payments

The state of mobile commerce in 2014

Criteo have just released their latest report on the state of mobile commerce this year as well as their predictions for 2015. While it’s obvious that people are using their smartphones more and more to shop, here are some of their key findings;

  • Mobile now accounts for over 30% of e-Commerce sales globally
  • Mobile is now about purchasing, not just researching
  • Top quartile retailers generate almost 40% of transactions from mobile
  • Smartphones have overtaken tablets in mobile transactions (could this be due to bigger smartphone screen sizes being easier to shop on?)
  • The average order value on mobile is reaching desktop levels
  • Android shoppers are starting to more readily embrace mobile commerce

In 2015, Criteo predicts that over 50% of e-Commerce transactions in Asia will occur on mobile with the West following closely behind. They go on to predict that smartphones will continue to take over from tablets as the go-to device to shop on as larger screen sizes become the norm, and that more and more brands and advertisers outside of the West will prioritize optimizing their sites for mobile. Understanding cross-device behavior will be the biggest challenge to marketers and retailers.

For a bit more detail, have a skim through the report summary below.

Posted by Rob in Mobile, Mobile Payments, Retail