U.K. Mobile Payments Soar, Average User Makes 5 per Month

U.K. Mobile Payments Soar, Average User Makes 5 per Month

More than one million Brits have used PayPal from their mobile phones to make a payment or send money since the company launched its mobile payments service in 2005, PayPal is telling us.

eBay’s subsidiary expects to exceed $700 million in mobile payments by the end of 2010, 30 times the global volume of 2008. In July and August PayPal’s British customers made five m-payment transactions a month on average. Overall, mobile transactions grew by 20 percent on a monthly basis for the period.

“We’re seeing the start of a revolution in the way we pay,” said Petra Jung, head of PayPal’s mobile unit in the U.K. “People have talked about ‘mobile money’ for some time, but our figures show real traction in the amount of money PayPal’s UK customers are sending from their mobile phones,” she added.

The company was one of the first to launch an iPhone app two years ago when Apple opened its platform to outside developers and has been in the news lately with a host of mobile payment-related announcements.

PayPal has been very active on the m-payment front this year and this past week the company has made several big announcements at its Innovate 2010 developer conference in San Francisco.

Perhaps the biggest one was the launch of a new micropayments service that would enable merchants to affordably accept payments in the range $0.10 – $12. The micropayment platform was probably developed in close cooperation with Facebook, whose COO immediately endorsed it and in an announcement of her own stated that the social network juggernaut will integrate it to enable users to purchase small-ticket digital products.

Last week PayPal also unveiled its new mobile payment system, called Mobile Express Checkout, which enables users to complete purchases and check out of participating mobile e-commerce websites from their phones.

PayPal has been far from alone in its foray into m-payment territory. It seems like everyone, from Silicon Valley technology giants to telecom powerhouses to traditional credit card processors, now wants to process mobile payments. Not to mention coffee chains, social media founders and a slew of start-ups making announcements of new disruptive payment technologies at a feverish rate.

There is a good reason for all this activity. The m-payment industry is projected to grow exponentially in the coming years. Globally, the volume of mobile payment transactions is expected to rise to $1.13 trillion by 2014, from $37.4 billion in 2009, according to Research and Markets, a market research company. Moreover, the total number of m-payment users is expected to reach 1.06 billion in 2014, according to the same report, up from 351.4 million in 2009.

These are staggering numbers. Small wonder then that everyone wants a piece of the action.

Image credit: Gemalto.com.

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