What recipes to democratize mobile payment in France?

by bold-lichterman

Estimated at $ 171 billion in 2012, the mobile payment market could approach $ 620 billion globally in 2016. The booming sector has quickly seen the number of innovative startups multiply, attracting themselves many investors. While dedicated technologies are already well established, uses are struggling to be democratized in France. Decryption.


In 2012, more than 212M mobile users would have made payments from their mobile devices, against 160M in 2011. According to a recent study by Gartner, which expects annual market growth of 42%, in 2016 nearly 448M d users could resort to this practice. By this time, transactions carried out from a mobile device would then amount to 617 billion dollars.

Multiplication of initiatives

Filling the lack of initiatives from the giants of the sector, many start-ups quickly positioned themselves in this sector with great potential. In France, we can for example quote companies like Skimm, Lemon Way, Buyster or Paytop and Systay. No need to present the American Square, which since its launch has faced a multitude of new competitors such as the Swedish iZettle, the British mPowa or the German startups SumUp and Payleven.

In recent months, however, a few major players have tried to establish themselves in this market by launching several initiatives. We think in particular of the specialist in online payment, Paypal, which should propel its mobile payment solution in Europe over the coming months. Called, Paypal Here on the other side of the Atlantic, it will be deployed initially in the United Kingdom under the name of “Chip and Pin”.

Last September, Groupon has, for its part, announced that it also intended to compete with the specialist Square by targeting small traders. The device is based on a application for iPhone and a dock. For now, only available in the United States, the application also allows you to scan Groupon discount coupons.

For his part, MasterCard took advantage of the media reach of MWC Barcelona to kick off its e-wallet. Presented as a digital wallet, the solution allows you to pay for purchases from your smartphone without taking out your credit card or even entering a 16-digit code. Called MasterPass, this solution will first be launched in Australia and Canada as of next March. Next will be the United States, the United Kingdom, then Asia, France, Spain and Italy.

For its part, Visa has already launched a similar solution called V.me. BPCE should be the first French bank to offer, at the start of the next school year, the digital portfolio developed by Visa.

In France, BPCE just launched an application called S-Monney last year. This should allow French mobile users to pay for all kinds of small purchases from local merchants but also to make payments from various merchant sites. In addition to payments, the application also offers the possibility of making money transfers between users.

After the web giants, banks and banking operators, mass retailing has also launched into this promising sector. The Auchan group indeed presented its own mobile payment application last December. Called Flash’n Pay, it is based on a QR code system and should allow customers, from April, to pay for their purchases in the group’s stores using their mobile.

Uses still very timid in France

Despite these positions, the uses concerning mobile payment are still very timid in France. A situation which can be explained in particular by our legislative framework.

Sebastien Burlet, CEO of the start-up Lemon Way, particularly regrets the legislative battle, which his teams had to lead for 2 years, to obtain his own approval in France. For his part, Guillaume Charmant, at the origin of the start-up Syspay, discusses the specificities of Europe. “In the United States, you can cash cards only by swiping the magnetic strip. In Europe, Visa Master Card requires merchants to make transactions called “chip & pin” where it is necessary to enter the card in a certified device. It is also necessary to have an independent screen and keyboard ”Constraints which therefore prevent, for the moment, all transactions on a single mobile phone in which customers would simply be asked to enter their pin code.

Alexandre Richegude, founder of the start-up Flashiz, considers the development of high added value services to be essential to make up for France’s backwardness in this area, “whether it is person-to-person transfers, reduction coupons , or even loyalty programs ”. Indeed, unlike the African continent, which is very advanced in this area, the French population is highly banked. The players must therefore necessarily bring something more to succeed and convince French consumers of the usefulness of their services.

The democratization of uses will also go through awareness actions, in terms of safety, among users. Finally, the deployment of a standardized solution on a global scale seems to be the ultimate development for the mobile payment market to finally take off.

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