In 2017, our phones and our finances go together like hands and gloves. Thanks to advances in modern technology, the ways we pay, manage our money and even make money all have some connection to our smartphones. With analysts predicting that mobile payments will boom over the next five years, it seems as though money and mobiles are now more connected than ever. Indeed, by 2021, a report by Digital Market Outlook suggests that pay-by-phone services such as Apple Pay and Android Pay will be used more frequently than ever before.
Today, according to the stats, $25/£19 billion passes between our mobiles and the commercial world every year. However, thanks to advances in technology and a greater acceptance of handling our finances via our phones, that figure will increase by 62 percent to $275/£214 billion by 2021. Essentially, we’re in the midst of a mobile revolution when it comes to money. In fact, if you look around you at the today’s market, you’ll find all manner of ways to pay, earn and manage your money on the move.
Paying on the Move
Perhaps the most obvious way mobiles and money have formed a synergistic bond over the last decade is payment options. From virtual services to acting as a physical point of contact (or contactless as the case may be), many of us are now used to paying for something using our phones.
For example, if you look at the latest Apple Pay statistics from analytics company TXN, usage increased by 50 percent in 2016. As well as increased usage, more retailers are now accepting Apple Pay. Apple itself has stated that 35% of US retailers now support the service, while TXN found that companies such as Whole Foods and Duane Reade now draw 1.7 percent and 1.8 percent of customer spend though Apple Pay payments.
However, it’s not just in shops where mobile payments have become commonplace. Apps such as PayByPhone now allow you to pay for parking without putting coins in a metre. Initially launched in the US but now available across Europe and the UK, the app is now used by more than 12 million drivers who want to park and pay in a more efficient way. By either linking the app to your debit card or Apple Pay, you can pay for a set period of time without using any physical money. What’s even better is that the app will send you reminders when the metre is about to run out of time.
Making Money on the Move
In addition to spending money via our mobiles, we now have the ability to make money via our smartphones. Through a combination of free-to-download by pay-to-play platforms, you can actually boost your finances while you’re out and about. An extension of the online casino industry that’s set to be worth $56/£43 billion by 2018, mobile casinos give users the chance to play and earn on the move.
Similarly, if you were to download a mobile trading app like the one from Acorns, you’d find a similar pattern of play. First you’d open the lobby and search through the list of daily trading options. If you’re a novice, you can choose the “automated investing” option which basically takes any amount from £5 and makes micro-investments for you over 7,000 different stocks and shares.
In fact, much like the a casino app offers people that may have never stepped foot inside a real casino the chance to make some money like James Bond, Acorns does the same with trading. By making the process available for mobile users, the whole market suddenly opens up and become easier to understand and more accessible. Essentially, the connection between mobiles and money has now made it easier for people to earn more of the green stuff in new and interesting ways.
Managing Money on the Move
Finally, on top of paying and earning via our mobiles, we now have more freedom to manage our money with our phones too. Let’s say you wanted to make a charitable donation but you didn’t have any cash in your pocket. Well, now it doesn’t matter because System 02:19 is a game that actually makes donations for you as you play. In simple terms, the game requires you to plant seeds and complete tasks that help these seeds to grow. As you complete tasks, you earn points and if you’re ranked as the top player, you get to choose which eco-charity 50 percent of the app’s revenue is donated to.
Beyond this combination of games and charity you’ll find all the usual banking apps from the likes of Barclays and NatWest as well as modern innovators like Mozido. Basically a mobile banking app for people who don’t have a bank account, Mozido solves a problem that affects almost 1/3 of the world’s population. The solution is simple: Mozido users take some cash to a Mozido merchant where they then key in their phone number and a pin. Funds are then added to the user’s mobile wallet which they can then use like a bank account.
This innovation by Mozido may be simple, but it’s effective mainly because there a now approximately 2 billion smartphone users around the world. Anything that can connect our money to our phones is bound to succeed by virtue of the fact we now live most of our lives through them. Whether it’s making money, spending money or anything else in between, our mobiles are now more valuable than our debit or credit cards.