SMS Payments

SMS Payments are currently one of the most popular methods of using mobile phones to pay for goods or services, or even for person-to-person payments and many experts believe that due to the simple nature of SMS payments, the fact that all the user needs is a phone with SMS capability, SMS payments will continue to be a growth area in mobile payments.

But in addition to these text payments there are two other methods of using mobile phones to pay for items and services.  These are NFC payments and WAP payments.

NFC Payments

Near Field Communication (NFC) payments are a growth area in the field of mobile payments.  NFC phones communicate with each other and with NFC enabled points of sale, using radio frequency identification.  The mobile phones don’t have to touch the point of sale or each other to transfer information, i.e. money, but they have to be fairly close within four inches/ten centimetres of each other.

In China NFC is accepted as a means of payment on all public transport and in Japan NFC is also being used to provide identity card information.  In Nice visitors and residents can use NFC to purchase almost anything.

NFC involves a direct, almost instantaneous transfer of data between phones or phones and Point of Sale devices and many mobile phone operators are looking at ways to further develop this technology.

WAP Payments

WAP Payments simply means using the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) facility on your Smart phone to connect to the internet and then using an online payment method such as PayPal, Google Wallet or Yahoo Wallet or simply entering your credit card details into the payment box on a company’s website.

Some mobile network operators allow users to pay for WAP Payments directly from their mobile phone bill as with standard SMS payments.  Companies wishing to accept WAP payments need to talk to a SMS payment solutions company to ensure they get a WAP payment gateway installed on their site.


The first generation to grow up online — Gen Z— is also poised to rank as the most demanding consumer group in history.

That’s according to a new report from Fung Global Retail & Technology, which warns that retailers, restaurants and leisure companies will have to adapt to the wants and needs of Gen Zers (refers to those born in 2001 and later.

Having grown up with social media and assuming instant access to almost all things digital, from music to video to information, Gen Z want it all — and they want it now as they acquire apparel, cosmetics and experiences.

“The new technology products and services have broadened consumers’ range of choice and quickened the pace of life,” said Deborah Weinswig, managing director of Fung Global Retail & Technology. “It is hard not to see these creating a more demanding, image-conscious consumer.”

Gen Z comprises 19% of the U.S. population, and will rise to 25% in 2020. In the EU, the generation accounts for 16% of the population, and is forecast to peak at 21% in five years.

The only generation to grow up with the on-demand economy, Gen Zers likely will continue to be highly demanding consumers, whether they are requesting instant access to video, ride-hailing apps or delivery services.

“Exposure to near-infinite choice and access to near-endless information makes this generation more demanding than any of its predecessors,” Weinswig said. “As Gen Z matures, it will become more discerning, but its demanding nature is unlikely to be diluted. We think brands and retailers will be the ones that need to change, because Gen Z looks unlikely to compromise on its high expectations.”


Consumers depend on mobile devices and search for online and offline shopping, according to a new Google study.

More than two-thirds of smartphone owners use their devices to purchase products or services weekly, according to the report “Mobile Has Changed How People Get Things Done” from Google Inc. released today.

Google worked with research firm Purchased for the study to find out how consumers use devices throughout the day. The study polled 1,000 U.S. smartphone owners several times a day for a week in Q1 2016, resulting in more than 14,000 responses.

The study finds that consumers are turning to their smartphones to take care of any need they have, including shopping. 69% of consumers say they chose their smartphone to address their needs because it is the closest device to them at the time, 60% say it is the easiest device to use to address their needs, 49% say their smartphone is the device they always used to address their need and 36% say their smartphone provides the best experience to address their need. Consumers could pick more than one response.

In terms of shopping, 92% of people who search on a smartphone make an offline or online purchase related to the search within a day, the study finds. 76% of consumers who search on their smartphones with the term “nearby” in the query visit a related business within a day, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase, according to the study.

In addition, the study finds 70% of consumers take an action on their smartphone, such as conduct a search, look at images online, or use social media before making an in-store purchase.  Of consumers who say they are in an “I need to buy” moment and then purchase offline:

  • 61% visit a retailer’s website or app before purchasing.
  • 45% visit a store or other location.
  • 39% use a search engine.
  • 26% visit a non-retailer website or app.
  • 15% look at photos online.

Consumers could select more than one response.

“Smartphones are a new front door to the businesses around us,” says Lisa Gevelber, vice president of marketing at Google. “We see more and more people turn to their phones prior to making an offline purchase.”

Within the week of the study 87% of smartphone owners visited a retailer’s website or app on their smartphone; 81% of smartphone owners used their phone to find business information, such as store hours and product availability; and 82% used their smartphone to research products or services, according to the study.

Of the consumers who visit a retailer website or app to meet their needs, 53% do so on a smartphone, 11% on a tablet and 39% on desktop. (Consumers could pick more than one response.) Among consumers who visit a retailer’s website or app:

  • 38% do so because they know it will get them the information they needed quickly.
  • 37% say they know it will most likely have the information they are looking for.
  • 25% say they always start there for this type of need.
  • 25% say they find the content most appropriate for this need.
  • 24% say they trust this source the most.

Consumers were asked multiple times a day for a week, so this data represents total responses.


Google is updating its smartphone search algorithm to penalize mobile sites that display pop-over content that covers most of the page’s content.

Google Inc. will ding websites in smartphone organic search results if the page displays a full-screen ad known as an interstitial banner, the search giant says. The change will take effect Jan. 10.

Google’s actions target websites that cover the page the search result directs to with a pop-up or other content that a user must dismiss before accessing the searched-for content. The penalty affects only smartphone search results.

The algorithm change is meant to improve a smartphone user’s experience when she transitions from Google to the web page, Google says. Although the content beneath the interstitial is sometimes still visible and Google can index the content, the search giant deems such displays a poor experience because the consumer cannot interact immediately with the site, Google wrote in its official webmasters blog that announced the change.

This change is significant for retailers. Google dominates mobile search—89% of organic search visits on mobile devices were made via Google in the United States in the first quarter of 2016, according to performance marketing agency Merkle Group Inc. On average, retailers in the Top 1000 receive 10.44% of their traffic from natural search, according to

Plus, e-retailers often use interstitials to promote seasonal sales, gather email subscribers, offer a customer survey or promote users to download an app. Retailers should review their use of pop-over content on pages indexed within mobile search results, and make sure such content complies with Google’s new guidelines, says Brian Klais, founder and president of mobile marketing and mobile search engine optimization firm Pure Oxygen Labs.

“This update will force retailers to rethink best practices in email marketing as well as consumer experience surveys,” Klais says. “Retailers should not assume their high rankings will automatically translate into a hall pass on this new point. Conduct an audit to be sure.”

Pop-ups that encourage a shopper to sign up for an email subscription list—often while offering a pot sweetener such as a percentage off of a purchase—are an effective way for e-retailers to gain subscribers. E-retailers that use them grew their email lists by an average of 47.87% year over year, according email marketing firm Listrak, which surveyed more than 400 of its e-retailer customers last fall.

Google says not all pop-ups will be penalized. It makes exceptions for interstitials that have to appear because of a legal obligation, such as age verification; those that display a login because the content is not publically available, such as a news site behind a paywall; and pop-over displays that take up a “reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible.” Google cites small app-install banners that mobile browsers Safari and Chrome provide as examples of interstitials that consume “reasonable” screen space.

Retailers such as Touch of Modern Inc., No. 259 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, Gap Inc. (No. 20) and Groupon Inc. (No. 26) currently use interstitial tactics. Touch of Modern immediately shows an interstitial banner asking consumers to log in to its members-only site, which is a Google-OKed popup. The retailer is unsure if it will make any changes as it is too early to see how this change will impact them, if at all, a spokeswoman says. Groupon and Gap did not respond to a request for comment.

Interstitials are just one factor among hundreds of signals Google uses for its smartphone search results ranking. If a web page contains an “illegal” pop-up but it is still is a strong match for the search query, the web page may still rank highly, Google says.

Google has made several smartphone-specific algorithm changes within the past few years, including one in September 2015 that similarly penalized retailers for having pop-ups that asked consumers to download a company’s app. This algorithm update will fold that rule into this one, Google says.

“Mobile users have been frustrated by this for years now thanks to companies like Yelp and Trip Advisor and others who have abused interstitials to force mobile users to install the app to proceed,” Klais says.

In fact, when Google implemented the app interstitial penalty in September, Yelp Inc. was outraged. Yet, the customer review site did not change its tactics and continues to show a full-page interstitial prompting consumers to download its app after clicking on a link from mobile search results.

“Google saw its users fleeing mobile search via an exit door that led to apps,” Luther Lowe, vice president of policy at Yelp, told Vertical Web Media last year when Google made the announcement. “To make sure they can continue to extend their search monopoly onto mobile, Google is essentially telling app developers, ‘We’re losing too many of our users to your apps, so your new users will have to go through a doggy door.’”

While businesses may not want to change their marketing tactics, they shouldn’t be surprised by this change, Klais says.

Google wants to maintain their leading position in mobile search, and we all know mobile searchers expect Google to serve relevant results,” Klais says. “Google is saying it may stop ranking your content highly if you are making it difficult for Google searchers to consume indexed pages.”

Tyler White, senior analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, also is not surprised by the change, as Google prohibited the use of interstitials in its Accelerated Mobile Pages project. AMP is an open-source framework that allows businesses, including retailers, to build lightweight mobile pages that load as fast as possible on smartphones.

Google also announced it will remove the mobile-friendly label it added beneath smartphone search results that met this criteria. Being mobile friendly still matters and those standards for the ranking remain, but 85% of pages in organic search results meet Google’s standard and it no longer felt the need to label them.


The average sale price for a stolen credit card paired with personal information on the cardholder is $15.

“Criminals have a clear incentive to target internet retailers,” says Brett McDowell, executive director of the FIDO [Fast Identity Online] Alliance, an interindustry group aimed at developing specifications for better internet security.

That’s because merchants often keep valuable data on their networks—networks that criminals can, and do, break into to steal information and resell it. There were 3,141 confirmed data breaches last year, according to the Verizon 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report. Of those, 370, or about 12%, were of retailers’ systems, and 182 of these retailers confirmed data was stolen. The report did not track whether the breaches were of retailers’ websites or store networks. The more recent major security breaches, such as Target Corp. in 2013 and The Home Depot Inc. in 2014, involved compromised point-of-sale terminals in stores.

Payment data is the prize that most thieves are seeking when they hack into networks, says Al Pascual, senior vice president and research director for the fraud and security practice at Javelin Strategy & Research. Customer data—email addresses, birth dates, shipping addresses, passwords, etc.—is also valuable. The average sale price for a stolen credit card paired with personally identifiable information, such as the card owner’s billing address, was $15 in 2015, according to Intel Corp.’s McAfee Labs research, or about double the price of the credit card information alone.

Obtaining customer login credentials also can prove fruitful because of consumers’ penchant for using the same usernames and passwords on multiple websites, and e-retailers’ hesitation to apply more stringent authentication methods. Internet retailers “are always fighting to reduce their shopping cart abandonment rates, which historically required them to sacrifice some proven user authentication practices to reduce the number of steps required for a customer to complete a purchase,” McDowell says. Those practices include two-factor authentication, wherein a customer provides two means of verifying his identity such as a password and identifying information that might be the name of their first pet, for example, before allowing the consumer to complete a purchase.

63% of confirmed data breaches (across all industries) in 2015 involved leveraging weak, default or stolen passwords, according to the Verizon investigation report. Once these credentials are in hand, experts say the most common target for their use is to access payment information consumers store with merchants or financial institutions.