Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fed-study about mobile payments.... mobile phone heralds the return of the cashiers...

The federal reserve has yesterday issued this study on Consumers and Mobile Financial Services. And it shows that mobiles are a game-changer, due to their ubiquity. The people that have bank account don't use the mobile that much, but those without a bank account (the unbanked) make quite some use of it. So it turns out that in the US you can see a double usage pattern: on the one hand the signs of a developed market, moving slowly. And on the other hand the pattern that we know from countries in Africa, with heavier usage of mobile phones as the main banking/payment infrastructure.

Of course there's much to read in the study but it's interesting to note the banking paradigm that the Fed uses in the study. It sees the mobile phones for unbanked as a possible first step towards a sort of  'true banking', for those customers. That could be a possibility of course. But I think we may wan't to revisit this approach: couldn't we also see the mobile phones as the new digital shape of the former cashiers? And couldn't the cashiers just be the cashiers of any shop as well?

Well, that's my penny's worth of thought this morning and I'll be happy to elaborate a bit more on it at the 15th (!) Digital Money Forum in two weeks time.