Mobile e-commerce, or m-commerce, defines the transactions that occur on a mobile phone or a similar portable device. This business type is gaining in popularity.
With the quick development and availability of mobile devices and their connection to the internet, through Wi-Fi or a 3G network, e-commerce caught up with smartphone users. Devices like smartphones, PDA or even dashtop mobile devices are used in mCommerce transactions.
Types of commercial services available
Mobile ticketing is one of the main services concerned by m-commerce. Users just have to show their phones (which contain the ticket bought) at events to gain access. This service is being more and more widespread. In mobile e-commerce, the products or services that are more purchased for mobile devices are contents and digital goods. Ringtones, games, applications and wallpapers for customisation and entertainment are the main purchases of mobile shoppers. Other services, like auctions and catalogue shopping, are also available nowadays.
Examples of payment methods used in mobile e-commerce
Premium SMS can be used for payments in some types of m-commerce transactions. This is probably the most used type of payment for digital contents involving microtransactions. With direct mobile billing, very popular in Asia, it is the user’s mobile account that is charged with the price of the purchases. This is a very quick method and alternative to credit and debit card payment.
Mobile banking services and m-commerce
Another important aspect of mobile e-commerce is mobile banking. Banks use this to allow their customers to verify their balance or access their account information. Additionally to the statements, managing one’s insurance policy and peer to peer payments are also available.