Mobile payments and wallets in the spotlight

Nowadays, people frequently use mobile payments and mobile wallets interchanged. Even though there’s no officially agreed definition for these terms, there are ways to differentiate. The current trend of mobile payments – especially mobile wallets – can be beneficial to your business. However, there are other factors to look at before deciding whether to offer mobile payments or not.

How to differentiate between mobile payments and mobile wallets?

It’s time to clear the confusion. What the heck are mobile payments?

Mobile payments are…you guessed right. Payments made via mobile devices.

Mobile payments have changed a lot over the past decades. Back in 1997, you could buy Coca-Cola from a vending machine with a text message. You could purchase movie tickets with Ericsson & Telenor Mobiles in 1999. Also, you could arrange your travel with KLM in 2000.

Why is term mobile payments confusing? Online payments used to be separate products, while nowadays they’re features. Google has Google Pay, Apple offers Apple Pay. You can make purchases via messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WeChat Pay. In Amazon Go,  your mobile payment is automatic and you don’t even have to stand in a queue.

Mobile payment types

Mobile payments can be categorised in several ways, from technology to business models. Our list contains the common usage types:Mobile payment types

Mobile POS

A mobile device acts as a point of sale terminal. It replaces the cash registers to process payments in-store.

Carrier billing

Shoppers receive promotions and trials through their mobile devices. In case of a purchase, the mobile operator handles the charges. Boku is one of the leaders of this type of mobile payments.

Closed loop payments

It’s a spending account linked to a bank account. Shoppers load money to the spending account through mobile devices. Closed loop payments are either company specific, or gift cards. The most successful example is Starbucks.

P2P payment platforms

These platforms are used for person-to-person payments and splitting bills. Their competition has increased after banks started to provide mobile banking apps with similar features.

Mobile wallets

There you go…Mobile wallets are popular mobile payments type. A mobile wallet is basically a specific implementation of an eWallet. It operates on mobile, not in desktop or browser environment. The misinterpretation is due to overlapping features mobile wallets and eWallets have in common.

The development of eWallets enabled online shopping, personal identification, boarding passes and many more perks! As an illustration, PayPal, MasterPass and Visa Checkout are great examples.

Mobile wallets were created to shop in-store, purchase online and perform in-app payments from a mobile device. Well-known products include Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and WeChat Pay.

What’s the confusion? You can shop online without a digital wallet. Also, you can perform in-app purchases with a digital wallet. This shows how payments are features for some brands.

mobile payments and walletsSafeCharge offers 150+ alternative payment methods, including mobile payments and eWallets. To learn more, talk to one of our payment experts.

Mobile wallets and in-app payments, two peas in a pod

In-app purchase means your consumer performs the payment from a mobile device within an application. The rise of mobile wallets has a strong connection to these payments. Back in 2009, Apple was the first to offer in-app purchase via App Store. Instead of considering these payment options as competitors, see them as unique opportunities. To point out, you can take advantage of mobile wallets. Your consumers can perform fast, secure and easy payments. At the same time, a purchase is possible online, in-app and in-store too.

Mobile wallets are great ways to create special campaigns, discounts and loyalty programs. Your consumers rarely leave their apartments without mobile devices. As a result, app updates and notifications lead to either online or offline purchases faster.

Mobile payments and technology: go contactless

From a technological perspective, the battle is mainly between NFC (Near Field Communication) and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). NFC is a one-to-one solution while BLE is one-to-many. NFC doesn’t require a battery, in contrast, BLE can last for about two years. Last but not least, NFC operates with contactless POS terminals, and BLE requires changes at checkout.

Luckily, this is not a black or white decision. Hybrid solutions are available for both BLE and NFC. Likewise, QR code-based services are quite common.

What influences mobile payments usage?

Mobile device usage is one of the key influencer factors for mobile payments. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that. The followings are good starting points to see whether to offer mobile payments or not.


It cannot be enough highlighted to conduct an audience research. Generations have different needs and preferences. If your shoppers are from Baby Boom and Generation X, they rather go with traditional payment options, like cash, cards, and bank transfers. On the contrary, younger generations such as Gen Y (Millennials) and Gen Z were born into the digital world. As a result, they’re familiar with technology. In addition, they have higher mobile device usage rate (both generations are over 75%). Last, they trust mobile payments more.


Mobile payments are catching up globally. Besides, forecasts say they will be a major payment option in a few years. However, apart from age, check where your shoppers come from. In Mexico, shoppers prefer to pay with cash. In Germany, one of the most popular payment methods is online banking. Chinese people prefer to pay with mobile devices. In the US, the highest market share for online payments is credit cards.


Mobile payments are easy, secure and fast payment options. First of all, they require the right technology. The increased usage of mobile wallets, for example, is due to having more points of sale terminals. In addition to card payments, POS terminals can be compatible with NFC, BLE and QR codes.

You might also like: How to offer WeChat Pay and open business to 600 million potential customers.

How can mobile payments boost your business?

Mobile payments, including mobile wallets, are growing trends. Here’s a short list of how they can help your business:

Checkout experience

Your shoppers are familiar with their mobile devices. The purpose behind mobile wallets is replacing regular wallets, and making the entire shopping journey frictionless. Moreover, newer smartphone models offer embedded NFC technology. BLE has been a part of mobiles features for several years.


Whether your shoppers wish to pay online, in-app or in-store, finally it can be performed with a mobile device. There’s no need to take a bank card, enter a PIN and wait for confirmation. Especially relevant to note that online and in-app payments can be customised. First of all, one-click payments are great for returning customers. Another benefit is a list of recommendations, based on previous purchases. It gives a nice way for shoppers to surf around your products. When shopping in-store, the POS terminals will do the job in seconds via NFC.


Most wallets require two-factor authentications, including biometrics (facial recognition, fingerprint, voice recognition). Your payment partner can ensure payments security due to the tokenisation. So, when someone pays with a mobile wallet, the bank account details are a random set of numbers. If the mobile device is lost or stolen, it can be blocked from usage.

Mobile payments in the future

Mobile payments started in 1997 with Coca-Cola. Since then, the development has been extremely fast. The current usage is not that high yet, but several surveys show why. If more in-store terminals would accept mobile wallets, shoppers would be willing to pay more with their mobile.

As for the future, Juniper Research has forecasted the revenue of global mobile point-of-sale. It will reach up to nearly $50 billion by 2021. Also, in-store mobile payments will reach $503 billion by 2020 according to BI Intelligence Mobile Payments Report from 2017.

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When you choose the right payment partner for your business, all perks of mobile payments (and more!) are delivered to you. Would you like to know how SafeCharge can help your business?

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SafeCharge Limited is an Electronic Money Institution authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Cyprus and is a principal member of MasterCard, Visa and Unionpay International (CUP). SafeCharge Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a Payment Institution. Both SafeCharge companies are wholly owned by SafeCharge International Group Limited.