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Only consumers can set the pace of m-commerce.

Dubai: The technology is already out there to make mobile-based e-commerce the next big thing. And so is the instrument -- any smartphone -- and processes -- the apps -- for consumers to seal the deals.

But how fast the uptake will be depends entirely on the consumer and, more precisely, on how secure he will be in giving out the payment details via a smartphone.

While "there are clear signs of growth, it is ultimately the consumer that will decide when -- and if -- the phone will replace the card as the primary form of payment both at home and abroad," said Ozgur Ozvardar, General Manager of Verifone MENA, the payment solutions company. "The roll-out of face-to-face mobile transactions is still in an experimental phase across different parts of the world.

"And there have been some early successes such as with ApplePay in the US."

Though still a gradual process, some e-tailers -- especially in emerging markets -- have been giving serious thought to shifting their operations entirely to an app-based process. This way, they would eschew selling via their web portals, which is what they built their business model on.

The switch to mobile-led e-commerce has already created a plethora of competing solutions, some of which can be accessed as easily as buying off-the-shelf. "MPOS (mobile point-of-sale) technology and terminals is a very hot topic at the moment and, yes, there are multiple companies offering their solutions," said Ozvardar. "I personally think that this creates a perfect environment for clients.

"Security is the main concern here and we have to admit there are differences between competing solutions. The device itself has to have all the needed certifications such as EMV (for chip and PIN) and PCI (for data compliance). For solutions using a payment gateway, they also need to be certified properly.

"MPOS covers a huge band of products and differ from each other according to usage. For example, the Verifone MPOS portfolio can be divided into two -- the basic dongle and (the) more sophisticated solutions.

"The basic dongle is mostly used by small merchants having a small number of transactions per day. The other solutions are used for on-the-shelf sales where customers benefit from extra features such as an integrated bar code scanner and integration with retailers' ERP solutions. This enables them to control their stock and allows faster check out during busy hours."

According to Ozvardar, there will be some form of consolidation for m-solutions providers. And that can very well happen in the "near future".

"Customers will prefer to work with globally known brands that they have worked with for years in their traditional payment business. Especially in retail, customers prefer to have a full payment solution which enables them to accept payment by traditional point-of-sale, M-pos and even e-commerce."

And as to why there is no single foolproof system to tackle security issues over a m-gateway, Ozvardar said: "Verifone has its fully approved solution ... it works well in the Nordic countries, for example.

"I think the biggest obstacle is local regulations that do not allow a cloud-based solution. This, of course, increases the cost of projects and requires additional investments. Unfortunately, for many companies, the opportunities do not justify these investments. But the time will come and probably sooner than expected."

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:May 12, 2015
Words:555
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