Top 3 mobile payments trends to watch in 2021

The mobile revolution is underway. The unrivalled convenience of mobile technology, coupled with increasing consumer demand for seamless experiences, has set the stage for mobile payments to soar in the coming years. With 34% of consumers stating smartphone has become their main purchasing device last year, 2020 has created a unique environment for mobile payments, and we will undoubtedly see them continue growing and evolving. What are the key trends that will shape the future of mobile payments this year and beyond?

A mobile-first approach

2020 saw consumers spend $143 billion via mobile apps, a 20% increase from 2019. This figure is only set to rise, with e-marketer predicting that global m-commerce sales will be worth $3.56 trillion in 2021. With stats like this, it has become clear that businesses can no longer treat mobile technology, and particularly mobile payments, as an afterthought. For any business providing products and services, they need to have a mobile-first strategy – not only to remain competitive in the market, but to stay relevant to their customers.

Whether a charity, national utility service provider or small business, any type of business can benefit from adopting mobile payments as part of their strategy – from issuing invoices to collecting donations and accepting payments in a multitude of ways, it can all be done via mobile. However, while many businesses realise the need for a solid mobile strategy, they often don’t have the resources or capability to design, build and manage their own mobile apps. This is where onboarding with an established mobile payments service could be beneficial, as it not only eliminates these constraints, but provides an entry point into a whole mobile ecosystem.

The rise of super apps

An average consumer has around 80 apps on their phone but often uses less than half of them* – the ones that prove to be the most convenient and make their life simpler. This is one of the key reasons behind the increasing demand for super apps – they combine an array of useful services that can be easily accessed in one place. Add the payments capability to it and you get something truly magical – a single lifestyle app that enables consumers to pay bills, donate to charities, redeem loyalty points, top-up ski passes, shop in-store or via a mobile marketplace, and more. In other words, a truly seamless customer experience that businesses strive to provide.

However, successfully creating such an ecosystem cannot be not achieved overnight. There are many successful app developers out there, but to create a payments super app, requires a company with an established track-record in payments and substantial resources to deal with compliance and technology issues – something not every industry player has. Partnering with payments experts and the right super app, however, can remove many stumbling blocks for businesses trying to navigate the complex world of mobile.

QR code payments take centre stage

QR codes are not new – they have been around since the 90s but haven’t seen much traction in payments outside of Asia until recently. In fact, a 2021 report from Juniper Research estimates that the total number of QR code payment users will reach 2.2 billion in 2025 (approximately 29% of all mobile phone users across the world), up from 1.5 billion in 2020 – this is clearly a trend that cannot be overlooked.

Industry players around the world are at the forefront of this trend – from local regulators implementing national QR code standards to promote electronic payments and financial inclusion, to tech giants and global payment networks offering QR-based solutions as a convenient, secure, cost-effective alternative to cash. Everyone is taking notice of QR code technology and the possibilities of its uses in payments. Not only is it safe, convenient, user-friendly, affordable and highly versatile, but it is spreading rapidly across the globe. After years on the sidelines, the QR code has re-emerged to play a crucial part in how people around the world will pay in 2021 and beyond, and this is something businesses and payments industry players should pay attention to.


*The State of Mobile 2019

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