MasterCard Worldwide has introduced a new topic for the mobile payment industry to debate. No longer is it just about when mobile payments will happen, but it's also about where will mobile payments will happen.
MasterCard announced the debut of its Mobile Payments Readiness Index (MPRI), an analysis of 34 countries that measures readiness to use three types of mobile payments: person to person, mobile web commerce and mobile contactless payments at the point of sale. (MasterCard also launched a very cool interactive website to promote the MPRI.)
And what did MasterCard's analysis find? Consumer readiness is the "critical success factor" that will drive mobile payments adoption.
"Technology infrastructure, a responsive regulatory environment and a robust economy are table stakes for the advancement of mobile payments," said MasterCard VP of global insights, Theodore Iacobuzio said in the announcement. "The necessary conditions are consumer readiness and industry integration."
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Iacobuzio added that just as no one entity can develop and promote mobile payments by itself, the cause of mobile payments must be advanced by key players in the ecosystem working together.
Backing up Iacobuzio's argument, the MPRI showed that cooperation and collaboration among financial institutions, mobile network operators, governments and technology providers can foster an environment that enables a market to reach critical mass, MasterCard said.
In a post on the MasterCard blog, Iacobuzio summarized the finding of the MRPI study.
"It’s early days for mobile payments but we are making significant progress," Iacobuzio said. "On a scale of zero to 100, the MPRI average is 33.2. The 34 countries range from 22.4 to 45.6 (a narrow spectrum) and no one market has a monopoly on mobile payments adoption."
According to the MPRI report, Singapore, Canada, the United States, Kenya and South Korea are most prepared for mobile payments, but even in these countries the technology is in its early stages. However, all 34 markets in the study are making progress towards reaching an inflection point where mobile devices account for an appreciable share of the payments mix, the report said.
Additionally, the report said that of the 10 markets with the highest consumer scores, nine are in Asia/Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Developing economies also showed readiness for mobile payments with consumers being drawn to mobile payments for access to the larger economy, both national and global, as well as to a regulated and secure economic infrastructure.
MasterCard said its Mobile Payments Readiness Index was compiled by MasterCard Global Insights between October 2011 and February 2012. The 34 markets were ranked on a scale of 1 to 100 with scores calculated across 50 quantitative and qualitative inputs like economic and demographic data combined with proprietary consumer research. The inputs were grouped into six components including environment, financial services and regulations and then combined to come up with each country's score.
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