New Zealand is firmly middle-of-the-road when it comes to mobile payment readiness, according to a comparison of countries released by MasterCard that ranks us 17th out of 34.
Its Mobile Payments Readiness Index gauged how prepared each nation was in regard to mobile at point of sale (POS), mobile web commerce (m-commerce), and person-to-person funds transfer (P2P). In the vast majority of markets, more consumers are using mobile payments for m-commerce than for P2P or POS transactions, with 9 percent of New Zealand consumers frequently making use of m-commerce.
The study suggests willingness to adopt mobile payments in New Zealand is high, although our familiarity with the technology is lagging behind.
New Zealand earned an overall score of 32.7, just below the index average of 33.2 on a scale of zero to 100. A score of 60 on the MPRI would indicate that a market has reached the inflection point – the stage at which mobile devices account for an appreciable share of the payments mix. The most advanced market in the Index, Singapore, attained a score of 45.6, with Canada, the United States, Kenya and South Korea the next most prepared markets.
Nine of the 10 markets with the highest consumer scores were in APMEA (Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa). Each market was ranked on a scale of 1 to 100, rated on components including Environment, Financial Services, Regulations, Infrastructure, Consumer Readiness and Clusters and Partnerships.
New Zealand’s regulatory system scored high marks in efficiency (82 percent), beating the industry average (68 percent) for both the protection of intellectual property rights and financial assets and the effectiveness of laws relating to information and technology. In addition, New Zealand’s laws relating to information and communication technology were found to be well developed, receiving a score of 73 percent versus an average of 65 percent.
Cooperation among banks, mobile networks, and the government made Canada the leader in the Mobile Commerce Clusters score, while Singapore's mobile phone penetration (100 percent of the population is covered by a mobile network compared to a 94 percent average) propelled it to the top of the Infrastructure rankings.
MasterCard New Zealand country manager Albert Naffah said with high smartphone usage and hundreds of thousands of chip-enabled cards already in market, New Zealand was well placed to take advantage of the mobile payment wave.
“We have the right emerging infrastructure to make mobile payments methods widely accepted, but the fact that willingness to adopt is high and familiarity is low signifies that more consumer education is necessary before we see broad acceptance,” Naffah said.
He said no one entity could develop and promote mobile payments by itself.
"Collaboration between telcos, banks, government and technology providers will be key to fostering an environment that will enable New Zealand to reach critical mass. Partnerships will also greatly accelerate progress and it’s encouraging to see the industry working together."
In April Paymark, Vodafone, 2degrees and Telecom announced a joint venture to create the infrastructure to enable mobile payments across phones and retailers.
Naffah said that would likely led to the rollout of mobile NFC infrastructure in early 2013.
"The challenge to the industry here is to replicate the Australian experience where there are already 75,000 contactless terminals in the market.”