See how mobile payments are being used for online purchases

Improve the mobile shopping experience in emerging and established markets

1 Overview

The challenge

With 34% of online retail purchases happening on mobile devices1, and people in emerging markets using mobile payments as a first choice of payment, you need to ensure you can make the mobile shopping experience easy.

Your Aim

Make sure your customers find your site mobile-friendly, whether they’re browsing at 4:00 a.m. or at lunch. Learn about the many mobile payment methods available to your customers, and get your mobile site ready for them.

What are mobile payments?

Mobile payments are payments made by a mobile device such as a phone or a tablet. People may choose to use mobile payments instead of paying directly with credit or debit cards, cash or cheques. They are useful to customers because they offer an extremely convenient way to pay for a product or service.

In countries where banking and credit card use is low, mobile use is often high and mobile payments give customers the chance to make purchases in a non-traditional way.

The global rise in smartphone use has increased the number of mobile payments. This is only set to increase. According to a 2016 Boston Consulting Group and Google report Digital Payments 20202:

  • Internet services on mobile are predicted to reach 3 billion users by 2020. This is approximately 65% of the world's adult population.
  • By 2020, the main way of accessing the internet will be by mobile devices (80%), and 58% of these mobile device users will access the internet using a smartphone.

How people make mobile payments?

There are many ways people can make payments from their mobile devices:

SMS Payments

These are popular with consumers in Europe and Asia. A customer sends a payment request using an SMS text message. A premium charge is sent to their phone bill or online wallet. The merchant is told when the payment has been successful.

QR codes

A customer paying with a QR Code shows the code on their mobile device which is then scanned by a point of sale device or another mobile device.

In-app purchases

People make in-app purchases from within a mobile app they are using. They may make an in-app purchase to access special content in an app such as power-ups or special characters. This is usually a seamless purchasing process for the customer.

Web-based purchases

Web-based purchases are made using web pages or additional apps which have been downloaded and installed on a mobile phone to make a payment. This is a quick and simple way of making payments. For the best experience, customers should already be pre-registered with their online payment services such as PayPal or One Touch to offer a seamless transaction.

2 Making mobile payments easy

There are different platforms which make payments as easy as possible for both customers and merchants. Google Pay and Apple Pay store customer’s bank account and credit card details on mobile devices and make purchases seamless. These can be topped up with many forms of payment, including cash.

Google Pay

Google Pay lets people make payments on their phone and works with hundreds of thousands of contactless payment points worldwide.

Google Pay is easy to set up, which makes it very attractive to consumers. They simply download the Google Pay app from Google Play and select the participating debit, credit, loyalty, or gift card they want to pay with.

In-app payments can be made with Google Pay too. This means consumers don’t have to enter their details every time they make an in-app payment.

Security is built-in to Google Pay. Every transaction is tracked, a virtual account number is given to the user so card details are secure, and if the phone is lost it can be locked using Android Device Manager.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service that lets people make payments using an iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad or Mac, and works with existing contactless terminals. In-app and web payments can be made with Apple Pay too. When you pay, a device-specific number and unique transaction code is used, so your card number is never stored on your device, or shared with merchants.

3 Fine-tune your site

Since the number of buyers using their phones to make a purchase is increasing, it is important to ensure that your site is designed to make these purchases smooth. Here are a few tips to make sure buyers stay on your site to complete a purchase:

Let people purchase as a guest

Provide a guest checkout so a potential customer doesn’t have to register or log in to make a purchase on your business’ mobile site or app. This keeps the purchase simple and short.

Make the checkout process secure

People look to retailers for reassurance that their personal information will be secure. Follow best practice options such as https markups on your site.

Give multiple e-wallets payment options

Customers like to have e-wallets as payment options. Apps and mobile sites that provide payment options, such as Google Pay, PayPal, Apple Pay simplify the payment process and provide in-built security.

Give a detailed summary after purchase

Give a detailed, easy to edit, transaction summary with all the information that your customer might need to verify the order.


Customers have come to expect a smooth and almost instant mobile payments experience. These expectations are changing the way people shop, and the way people sell. Make sure you stay ahead of these significant trends to gain happy customers and more sales.

4 Sources

  1. Google Analytics, retailer aggregated data, US March 2016 

  2. BCG-Google Digital Payments 2020