If you look at the basics of what a card scheme or bank does and what a mobile operator do, there are some striking similarities. I contend that Mobile operators are in fact issuers, they set up accounts, issue chip cards (SIMS), have pre and post paid options (ie deal with debt, credit and float) and send out statements monthly.
Sure they don’t, hold debit accounts, undertake credit risk assessments and generally speaking aren’t PCI compliant, but its not a big step to think that they might. Certainly de-coupled debit presents a real opportunity for them.Think this through:
Which are you more likely to make a return trip home for? Your mobile or your credit card?
Technology is making this a very real possibility. Now that most debit and credit transactions are secured by PIN, you don’t need signature, the card is only present for the chip or magnetic strip. Near Field Communications makes this process even easier, educating us that plastic cards aren’t required. Mobiles could be even more secure as many banks already use SMS as the second factor in some transactions. There is no doubt that the mobile phone is much more versatility than a card. You can have multiple ‘cards’ on one mobile, you can take pictures, play music & games, get email, tweet, even make calls. If you could use it as your payment instrument wouldn’t you jump at the opportunity?