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Over the last year, the global presence and acceptance of mobile payments has truly spread like wildfire. While social gaming and online shopping have been early adopters of mobile payments, there is a new use case for mobile payments: mobile ticketing – a sector that has already experienced enormous success in parts of Europe. So what is this exactly? In Europe, where there’s no shortage of vibrant concerts, sporting events and transportation hubs, mobile payments have proven a viable solution for those looking to quickly, safely and easily pay for their recreational activities.
We first saw mobile payments combined with mobile ticketing as a trend in Asia – particularly in Japan and Korea, where they utilized this combination in many of their transportation systems. As many of you know, Asia has long been a pioneer of mobile payments for a variety of uses. Given the success of mobile ticketing in Asia, we began to think about practical adoptions for Europe, devising a pilot program that would combine the benefits of mobile ticketing and mobile payments, enabling consumers to bundle the entire ticketing process onto the mobile phone, from ordering to redeeming. The key differentiator distinguishing this pilot from existing ticketing solutions, is that the process emulated that used in gaming purchases. Consumers log on to a site offering tickets to an event and then choose to pay via the mobile payment option. After providing their mobile phone number and confirming the purchase via the SMS verification code, a digital ticket or ticket code is sent directly to the mobile phone where it can be displayed. Showing and redeeming this ticket or code at the show gate will enable the bearer to enter. The charge is conveniently billed to the respective carrier account through the mobile payment provider.
With high-speed data connections available almost everywhere for mobile phones, consumers increasingly shop for goods – and tickets – on their mobile devices. In utilizing the mobile phone as the hub of the entire process, mobile ticketing combined with mobile payments completely eliminates the need for cumbersome, paper-based processes. It also gets rid of providing lengthy credit card numbers or address details for the purchase. The enhancement of mobile ticketing enables the consumer to do everything from researching the event, to purchasing the ticket, to redeeming it at the show from one exclusive device – the mobile phone.
Once the entertainment experiment was judged successful, it became clear that mobile payments are a proven solution for a variety of mobile ticketing scenarios and could easily be rolled out to other fields such as parking or transportation – similar to Asia. Although not in place en masse yet, this is shaping up to be an important trend in the near future.
With the emergence of new technologies, new areas of application and new industries within the mobile payments space, I believe the highest priority when combining mobile payments and mobile ticketing should be on the consumer’s ability to easily and seamlessly gain access to events and services that matter to them. Integrating a mobile billing capability into ticketing solutions offers a new and easy-to-use way of bundling the entire ticketing process onto a mobile device, thus further advancing innovation and the acceptance that the mobile phone can truly improve our day-to-day activities.