September 2015

Dubai Smart Cities Forum, Session 7: THE FUTURE OF MOBILE PAYMENTS

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The 7th Session of Dubai Smart Cities Forum, titled ‘The Future of Mobile Payments’ set out to discuss key enablers that would allow Dubai to successfully implement the use of mobile payments, as well as overcome the barriers to mobile payments.

According to Milan Gauder, Head of Mobile Products at Mastercard MEA, aspects of mobile technology that enable mobile payments are:

1) Enabling technologies e.g. NFC technology, ‘Beam’ mobile app
2) Accessibility - to the internet and people at all times
3) Intimate, personal and relatively secure - especially through latest authentication methods such as fingerprint enabled lock screens.

On the other hand, Milan Gauther elaborated on the global barriers of mobile payments going mainstream, such as fragmentation of world markets. To counter this, we need to develop a unified regulatory platform for mobile payments.

Moreover, there are many more parties involved in mobile payments. Using a card involves an interaction between the owner of a card and the card’s corresponding bank. Using a mobile to pay involves the owner of the mobile, the bank, the phone’s telecommunications provider and many other entities. This is harder to regulate and secure.

To encourage the progress of Dubai towards a cashless city, we can take cue from Denmark, who have officially made it unlawful for shops to legally state that they only accept cash. Moreover, there needs to be a change is people’s behavior, as Mr. Al Qemzi, Director General of the Department of Economic Development said, “people need to adapt to thinking of their mobiles as a credit device.”