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Mobile

Cash, plastic or mobile?

Are you tired of reaching into your pocket for your cash or cards when picking up a pizza, or at the counter at a cinema?

Are you tired of reaching into your pocket for your cash or cards when picking up a pizza, or at the counter at a cinema?

Today, Internet payment giant PayPal launches PayPal Mobile Checkout (PMC) in Australia, offering mobile phone users the ability to access their PayPal account via their mobile handsets and pay for goods and services in advance using the Web browser on their phones. At launch service partners include online florist Ready Flowers and the Mobile Wine Club, to be followed closely by others including Warner Music Australia and Hoyts Cinemas.

Using your phone for financial transactions is known as m-commerce and to date a majority of purchases made using mobile phones have been for services relating to mobile phones themselves, like ringtones and wallpapers.

Previous experiments in m-commerce have met mixed success. Soft drink vending machines that accepted payment via SMS messaging were introduced in capital cities in Australia over the last few years and saw small increases in sales during their installation, even with a premium added to the cost of the product.

PayPal's online service charges merchants for a percentage of the total of each transaction they process. PMC will have a similar fee structure -- charging merchants per transaction -- an expense you can expect to see passed on to consumers at the checkout.

Research conducted by representatives for PayPal found a vast majority of Australian mobile phones owners had concerns about security in relation to mobile phone purchases. In this area PayPal has a proven track record. The question will be if customers consider the use of PMC as the safest and most convenient means of paying for the services on offer -- not just as compared to other online payment services -- but as compared to the old-fashioned cash over the counter method, and if it's worth paying extra for.