Because developments in the mobile payments arena are so fast-moving, discussions about the space tend to focus on future technologies and products, rather than what companies are building and rolling out today.
To date, thousands of companies have released consumer-facing mobile payments apps. Unfortunately, many of these have been compromised by a lack of a focus on the emerging universe of best practices being perfected by leading developers like Cellum.
Naturally, not every mobile payment app is created with the same objective in mind. Still, there are important guideposts every firm should keep in mind before beginning work on an mobile payment app. Here are five:
1. Make it simple, and elegant. Everyone knows apps have to be pretty and easy to use, right? Actually, no. In reality, too many mobile payment apps are ugly and, even worse, confusing. So rule #1 is to make a super-clean UX that retains as many standard icons, buttons and features as possible, so that users will feel at home as soon as they open the app for the first time. And part of making this happen is not worrying about whether your app looks unique; in fact, if your app looks strikingly different from the competition’s that is generally a strike against it.
2. Make it easy to get. Again, everyone supposedly knows that ubiquity is key in mobile payments. Yet somehow firms forget that the first rule of ubiquity is making an app available without friction to every possible prospective user, on every platform – including, yes, BlackBerry. And, needless to say, this means making it free, and free from excessive updates.
3. Make it wicked fast. A mobile payment app should be the fastest app on a user’s phone, to facilitate spontaneous use. So make sure it is, and make sure that what sits behind it operates and scales well enough to keep it this fast.
4. Make it a part of something bigger. As we have noted before, consumers are most likely to use their mobiles to pay when they are getting something else as part of the transaction, such as loyalty points.
5. Make it secure, and obviously so. As we never tire of saying, the first rule of any mobile payment technology is security. But even 100% security isn’t enough – users and prospective users must themselves believe that an app or wallet is as or more secure than cash or cards.