Making Money More Mobile: The Prospects for Portable Payments
More than ever before, when you open a new account for online gaming in any form, you’re presented with a broad range of options from electronic bank transfer and credit or debit card payments, to modern alternatives like e-wallet sites that work like an entirely separate bank account.
This lets you control your money closely, with instant deposits and withdrawals between your main bank account, and the balance you use for gaming – not to mention different balances for different currencies, if you play at sites all over the world.
But where will this trend stop? And how quickly could we get from the current position – where many people already have some form of security device from their bank to authorise payments – to a financial future where mobile money is truly in your own hands?
Mobile Money in 2020
Pew Internet, an American project that conducts research into the modern world and the trends that shape it, has been looking at people’s expectations of future online and real-world payments, in light of the rise of mobile technology and near-field communications (NFC).
NFC is the technology behind ‘wave and pay’ credit and debit cards – which can be used for small transactions without having to enter a PIN.
But it can also be included in mobile phones and other portable computing devices, allowing them to be used for payments.
Pew Internet found that 65% of people agree with predictions that foresee such ‘smart devices’ as the predominant future of payments, with alternatives like cash and cards all but eliminated by the end of the decade.
Just 33% agreed with an opposing view, which suggested that security concerns and privacy worries might prevent people from giving up on cash so easily.
The Wealth of Nations
Interestingly, while it is developed countries that have begun this trend – including Europe and the US, both of which have been instrumental in the creation of e-wallet software and services for gaming sites – it could be the poorer countries that take it to the next level.
That is because, in developing countries, there is less fixed banking infrastructure already in place, potentially allowing them to adopt mobile money services more easily.
Pew Internet senior research specialist Aaron Smith says: “There is a fairly consistent feeling among experts that mobile payments will exist on a spectrum along with a number of other financial options.”
But he adds that developing countries could see “widespread adoption” thanks to the less rigid banking infrastructure already in place, combined with more flexible consumer habits.
Either way, it seems mobile money is fast becoming an accepted part of everyday financial services – and online casinos, bingo sites and sportsbook services have all played their part in driving the trend to its current stage.
Who knows – by 2020, you could have your own payment terminal in your home, and top up your bingo balance simply with a wave of your mobile phone…