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Contactless mobile payments in Europe: Stakeholders´ perspective on ecosystem issues and developments
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.).
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.).
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

A progressive shift from cash and card –based in-store payments, towards contactless mobile payments, is currently in the making on the European market. This shift would imply payments in stores to be performed in a fast, simple, secure and preferably less costly manner, between a consumer´s mobile phone and a merchant´s payment terminal. Technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC) and the use of Quick Response (QR) -codes, both facilitate such contactless payments, and have already built momentum in many European countries. This implies an undoubtedly very tempting new payment experience by the use of mobile phones. However, this shift entails several uncertainties and issues regarding the crystallization of the new “industry” that is forming. These issues regard social, organizational as well as market –related aspects, and adhere to stakeholders on both the provider- and user- side of contactless mobile payment products and services. It has been found that there is a great need for new research on this matter, from a more holistic perspective, where theories on industrial dynamics, developments and user adoption could be used to guide and explain these new industry-impeding issues as well as reveal new ones. This master thesis aims to answer this call – by using such theories in conjunction with a multi-stakeholder perspective from a wide base of empirically gathered data – in order to find, interpret and shed new light on key issues that impede the development and adoption of contactless mobile payments on the European market.

It was deemed necessary to first conduct a thorough literature review on the current mobile payments landscape in Europe, in order to find out which key issues seem to be existent on the European market (adhering to both providers and users of mobile payment solution), with the intention to presuppose from those issues for further guidance of choices in theories and construction of empirical data gathering methodology. The theoretical framework was in such way built upon five different but highly interconnected theoretical concepts on new industry evolvement, strategy and adoption. The empirical data was gathered from a two-day conference on mobile payments in Europe, as well as from 10 in-depth interviews with different key stakeholders on the Swedish and European market. The theoretical framework and the empirical data was later merged for analysis purpose, in order to find, interpret and shed new light on these and other issues on contactless mobile payment development and adoption on the European market. This has led to some key findings or conclusions.

Firstly, the literature review on the current mobile payments market in Europe revealed some key issues. On the provider-side of the stakeholder spectra; issues mainly revolve around collaboration and competition, where business models are hard to standardize due to the unevenly distributed control and power over the users. This was seen to relate heavily to the NFC Secure Element (SE) -placement, holding the consumers´ payment credentials, since different stakeholders prefer different SE -placements (on the SIM –card or integrated in the mobile phone). Some big actors have also created their own – more of end-to-end - contactless payment solutions, complicating the evolvement even further. This might further lead to issues related primarily to; early and late movers among providers, alternative mobile payment solutions, as well as issues related to interoperability between solutions/technologies as well as across borders. Security concerns have also been highlighted in the literature as a prioritized matter. Among the user-side of the stakeholder spectra; key issues relate to the adoption of in-store contactless mobile payments, such as investment costs for merchants to implement new hardware and/or software (terminals, mainly NFC -compatible), security concerns, reluctance in behavioral change among consumers´ payment habits, and uncertainties in the perceived added value through these new types of payments compared to foremost card payments.

Secondly, after merging the theoretical framework with the empirical data for analysis purpose, it was revealed that the uncertain role of mobile network operators creates tensions in the ecosystem on various levels and to various extents. Secondly, preemption strategies utilized by indigenous firms in European countries shows the possibility of hampering payment interoperability, and first-movers risk hurting not only themselves, but the entire mobile payment ecosystem, if security breaches are discovered due to technological uncertainties. This is one strong reason for banks to move slower, but they mightcontradictively risk losing some of their high trustworthiness towards other stakeholders if being too passive. Moreover, two additional trade-off issues were discovered (technology/business model standardization versus innovation, and too many features in the provided offering versus too few features in the provided offering). The first of these trade-offs is further damaging for the ecosystem since there are strong differences in opinions on the matter, as well as what might increase adoption speed. The second trade-off is important to take into consideration where payment card penetration-rate is high. An additional factor carrying issues was the explicit focus of providers on only one side (consumers) in a two-sided market (consumers and merchants). Also, merchants can not be seen as a homogenous group. Finally, the “chicken and egg” –problem seem do not seem to be such a big of a problem after all.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 115 p.
Examensarbete INDEK, 2012:76
Keyword [en]
Contactless mobile payments, proximity payments, NFC, QR, Europe, Fist second mover advantages, Network externalities, Switching costs, Diffusion of innovations, Ecosystem issues
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-98555OAI: diva2:537698
Subject / course
Engineering and Management
Educational program
Master of Science - Industrial Engineering and Management
Available from: 2012-06-29 Created: 2012-06-27 Last updated: 2012-06-29Bibliographically approved

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