Today in several RSS feeds I have found the same news: Google has a new patent for mobile micropayments. Micropayments using a cell phone is not new at all. I have seen some projects in Europe, specially the Spanish Mobipay. It’s a mature technology, but it’s not very successful. There are several reasons but it’s not clear why mobile micropayments are not growing. In my opinion:
- The fee is charged directly to the customer. If you buy a Coke in a vending machine and you pay 1€ with a coin, you have to pay 1.10€ with mobile micropayments. So the micropayment is the last option.
- For more expensive goods Credit Cards or Cash are preferred. Why? Again because the Credit Card fee is charged to the seller, not to the customer.
- With mobile micropayments your credit is given by the Mobile Operator. The Mobile Operator needs to cover the risk, and this is an overhead compared to the credit card model (everybody knows how a Credit Card works, isn’t?)
Google could be successful if they follow the Paypal model (just like they do in Checkout) and they are Mobile-Operator agnostic.