The Mobile Payments
Readiness Index is
comprised of six
Kenyan consumers' very high levels of familiarity with and frequent usage of mobile payments make the east African nation the top scorer on the Consumer Readiness component. Consumer Readiness scores are driven in large part by how frequently mobile payments are currently in use. In countries around the world, m-commerce and P2P payments lead the way at this early stage of market development. In Kenya, due to the popularity of P2P payment services – especially M-Pesa – 89 percent of Kenyans are familiar with mobile P2P payments and 68 percent are frequent users.
Other countries, even those scoring quite well in this and other categories, cannot match these numbers: In Saudi Arabia, 24 percent of consumers use mobile devices for P2P payments, while 26 percent use them for m-commerce. Notably, nine of the top 10 countries in this component hail from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, indicating this region offers many of the best mobile payment opportunities over the next few years.
The United States claimed the leading spot on the Environment component, driven by factors of high household expenditure per capita – roughly $33,000 compared with an Index average of approximately $11,000. The United States and other countries that scored well in Environment – the United Arab Emirates, Canada, and France – typically have above-average per capita household expenditures
as well as above-average rates of urbanization and Internet usage. Another similarity among countries with high Environment scores is a significant degree of "firm-level technology absorption." This measure of how well companies incorporate new technology indicates their receptivity to innovation, such as the technology needed to outfit point-of-sale terminals for mobile payments.
Japan's well-developed financial services sector puts it in the leading spot for the Financial component. At 91 percent, Japanese financial services get exceptional ratings for how well they treat consumers. Japan is also the most "carded" country in the Index, with the highest proportion of payment cards in circulation as a percentage of the population – 15 payment cards for each person.
Other top countries in the Financial Services component, including Singapore, the United States, Hong Kong, and Canada, scored well in a few important variables: Highly carded populations, consumers who are well treated by business, and affordable financial services.
Singapore's leading status on the Index is fueled by its top ranking in the Infrastructure component. Mobile phone penetration in Singapore is above the Index average, with 100 percent of the population covered by a mobile network compared to a 94 percent average for the Index. Second in Infrastructure is China, with the highest number of mobile phones of any country in the Index. Analyzing
other top countries such as India, the United States, and Japan, reveals that many have near-complete coverage by mobile networks, high investment in telecommunication sectors, and strong penetration of mobile devices. Many of these top countries are also well terminalized for NFC transactions, which contributes to their high Infrastructure scores.
Mobile Commerce Clusters
The cooperation among banks, mobile networks, and the government makes Canada the leader in the Mobile Commerce Clusters score. Other countries with high Mobile Commerce Clusters scores include Colombia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates. However, in Canada, cooperation between banks and mobile networks is unique: In 2011, major mobile network Rogers filed to be a bank under the Canada Bank Act. This move has the potential to create big opportunities for mobile NFC payments in Canada by integrating the telco and financial services aspects of mobile payments in one entity.
In the cases of Singapore and the UAE, both government investment and significant bank/telco partnerships designed to develop mobile payments pushed them up in the ranking.
Singapore's well-regarded and efficient regulatory system makes it the leader in the Regulation component. The key to Singapore's high score is its well-developed laws relating to information and communication technology, rated at 84 out of 100. Equally important is the score Singapore's legal system receives for efficiently settling disputes – at 90 out of 100, better than any other country in the Index. The other top markets in the Regulation component – Hong Kong, New Zealand, and
Canada – score similarly high marks on a few key measures: Well-developed laws relating to information and communication technology, legal systems that efficiently settle disputes, and strong protection of property rights and financial assets. These regulatory measures provide clear indications of how capable markets are of fostering mobile payments and how secure consumers can feel regarding protection of their assets.