Which mobile payment model and technology will prevail? The debate rages on with no end in sight. Empower your customers to do it any way they choose, and respond flexibly to emerging consumer demands without engaging in guesswork or waiting for the dust to settle. This series explores the new normal and how you can maintain and gain wallet share by empowering your customers through the mobile payments revolution.

If you’ve been reading this series, you understand the reasons you can’t put your mobile payment strategy on hold. You also know that trying to insulate your business from the impact of mobile payments is risky.

If you’re ready to take the first steps toward offering mobile payments as a complement to your existing financial products, start by building your mobile commerce roadmap. With sound objectives, capable technology partners, and a customer-focused mindset, you can successfully break into the world of mobile payments in less than one year.

Step 1: Define Your Objectives

Your program objectives should center on growth, customer experience and risk abatement. Start with these:


  • Protect existing customer base against traditional competitors who may be moving more quickly toward mobile payments.
  • Prevent disintermediation by non-traditional competitors like Google, who have dominated the mobile payments arena so far.


  • Capitalize on a new channel with new revenue opportunities
  • Expand offerings for existing customers
  • Attract new customers and gain market share

Step 2: Choose Your Technology Partners

Choose technology partners who can:

  • Offer the broadest set of solutions and fewest points of integration.
  • Provide expertise in both traditional (card) and mobile issuance
  • Leverage relationships with MasterCard, Visa and other market leaders
  • Deploy technologies that conform to industry standards
  • Offer extensive mCommerce deployment experience

Step 3: Choose a low-risk entry technology

Your first step into mobile payments should not set you on a path toward reliance on intermediaries. That path leads to diminished control of your customer relationships and lost revenue opportunities. For faster implementation and greater control, choose a low-risk, issuer-centric storage form factor like MicroSD.

MicroSD secure elements can turn any smartphone into a fully functional NFC-enabled device. Personalization solutions are relatively quick to implement and allow integration with your current central or instant issuance environment.  You won’t be left in the dust as mobile commerce takes off and you won’t be constrained by mobile carriers, handset manufacturers or other intermediaries. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll maintain the flexibility to transition to prevailing technologies when the dust settles.  That means you’ll still be able to:

  • Implement the prevailing storage and transaction technologies later if they end up being different than what you deployed.
  • Choose an on-premise TSM or hosted model approach with instant provisioning.
  • Offer instant access to mobile payments and physical cards at the branch level with seamless integration.
  • Provide a fully integrated, single sign-on mobile banking and mobile wallet application.

Step 4: Implement a production-ready deployment

You can expect the implementation of your mobile program to take 7-12 months, so you’ll need to move quickly. Start with manageable segment of customer base such as current mobile or online banking customers. Next, work with your technology partners to develop and deploy scalable, production-ready software and ecosystem. Remember, with the right technology partner and a low-risk entry technology, you can always change form factors and other particulars later, if necessary.

Step 5: Bring your roadmap to life

  • Start with a basic wallet that includes a single credit or debit payment option. Incorporate merchant loyalty programs and usage incentives to complete the mobile wallet experience.
  • Integrate your wallet with your existing applications.
  • Add more payment options, loyalty programs, incentives and capabilities over time with the customer experience as your guiding force.
  • Roll out to broader customer segments as offerings evolve and market matures.

You can still get into the mobile payments game early without ceding control to new intermediaries or hinging your strategy on what could become the “Betamax” of mobile technologies. A flexible, issuer-centric model isn’t only good for your business; it’s good for the banking industry and good for your customers.

Will you be offering mobile commerce  by 2014? Let us know with a comment.

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