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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Enabling Mobile Payments

With the launch of the iPhone App Store came a revolution, a restart and repositioning of what mobile applications should be. WAP was dead and mobile optimised websites were simply not good enough. Along came the mobile application; responsive, online, location aware and functional. Chasing after Apple's App Store came the Nokia Ovi Store, Windows Mobile Marketplace and Googles Android Market - each with their varied success, but all with a fresh look at enabling mobile applications for the end user. From games to sports, education to entertainment, navigation to news, productivity to photography - the applications available are broad in their appeal.

The highest downloadable applications have to be games - simple, addictive and on-demand, which are free in many cases. Newer games on all platforms are also coming into line with established handheld gaming devices such as the Sony PSP or Nintendo DS.

With regards to business applications however, download volumes are small. The availability of good business applications, be it hotel booking or general procurement applications are few and far between. There are many applications that provide location based hotel search, where the look to book ratio must be exhaustive. Mobile booking just isn't trusted. There are a few reasons for this; the client is using his or her phone so may as well dial the agent for them to book, the applications are not that user friendly or simply due to a slow connection speed where disconnects are frequent. However, one key issue stands at the fore, payment. Users still do not trust entering their card details into a phone for security reasons... Not to mention the vision of Mr Jones, the salesman, sat in a car park at 8pm, payment card in one hand, phone in the other - manually typing the card details into a phone with a sensitive keyboard or keys that are too small for his fingers. Not a great user experience.

Other attacks at the mobile payments are from the likes of PayPal or Google Checkout with mobile wallets, these are cumbersome in their implementation involving text messages and PIN numbers for authorisation.

Mobile purchasing only works successfully where you already have a card stored with the owner of the application, for instance you've stored your card on your Amazon account via the Amazon website, or your card details are already stored with Apple via iTunes. Essentially the accepted payment method, in a mobile purchase, is one click purchasing.

Earlier this year we launched the CSP On-Demand API, giving third parties access to the award winning CSP Platform in their own applications. This is being successfully rolled out at the moment with great momentum. Clients are learning that by not only linking in the system to their self-booking tools and desktop applications, that the mobile space is a fantastic opportunity to successfully take on. End users never have to see or enter a credit card into any application.

With the CSP On-Demand API and our card partners we're enabling mobile one-click payments to grow in the corporate procurement marketplace.

If you have a mobile application and are interested in learning more, get in touch.

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