Boku Inc. (AIM: BOKU) has announced the launch of the M1ST (aka Mobile First), the world’s largest mobile payments network. The M1ST Payments Network features an unrivalled 330+ mobile payment methods, including mobile wallets, direct carrier billing, and real-time payments schemes, reaching 5.7 billion mobile payment accounts in 90 countries – all through a single integration.
1.7 billion consumers have joined the world’s middle class in the past decade, with over 90% of the new middle class in emerging markets (Brookings Institute, 2020). Many of the world’s new middle class in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East are bypassing credit cards, and moving from cash to mobile payments like GoPay, Paga, PicPay and UPI. According to the World Bank, 45% of consumers globally use mobile wallets vs. just 18% that use credit cards for payments.
However, mobile payment acceptance for global merchants is highly complex, especially due to the extreme fragmentation of mobile payment methods. M1ST solves a number of these challenges so that merchants can easily accept mobile payments, globally, and at scale, including:
- Standardisation – M1ST removes the complexity of disparate technical, legal and contractual considerations, simplifying 330+ payment methods into a single, scheme-like network.
- Digitally Native – M1ST enabled payments are built to support the 0-tap subscriptions and 1-tap checkout transactions that enable new, online business models.
- Future-Proofed – By 2025, nearly 60% of consumers globally are projected to be using mobile wallets; the M1ST Network follows market demand to maximise merchant acceptance.
- Global Settlement – M1ST delivers merchants a single, global settlement, eliminating the complexity of local taxes, foreign exchange, and cash repatriation.
- Local Legal Infrastructure – Through payment licenses and local entities, M1ST is capable of accepting regulated payments in nearly 50 countries.
M1ST is designed to eliminate the difficulty of mobile payment acceptance so that merchants can accept mobile payments more quickly, at a lower cost, and focus on building world-class user experiences that drive long-term, valuable relationships with their customers.
“We’ve seen a fundamental shift of consumer purchasing power from west to east, from established to emerging markets, and from credit cards to mobile payments. Today, we’re launching the M1ST Network to enable global merchants to acquire, monetise, and retain mobile-first consumers,” said Jon Prideaux, CEO of Boku. “For merchants to capitalise on the massive potential of mobile-first consumers, they need to accept the payment methods they have and prefer, which are increasingly behind glass screens, not rectangular pieces of plastic. We’ve spent the past decade delivering new customers to our merchants through mobile payments. Now that mobile payments have overtaken credit cards globally, merchant acceptance has moved from a competitive advantage to a strategic imperative.”
As M1ST aims to be accessible for as many people as possible, Adam Lee, Chief Product Officer at Boku discussed how people in rural areas would benefit from the platform. “Mobile payments have made digital commerce more available to those in rural areas for years as they remove many of the barriers that exist for consumers to pay online. M1ST will give these payment methods even greater utility by ensuring they can be used by more consumers in more places, as we remove the headaches for merchants to accept more of them.”
He further explained how the rise in fraud as a knock-on effect from the pandemic will not affect the venture, “Mobile payments are far more secure than card-not-present transactions, as mobile wallets make use of device biometrics and multi-factor authentication. Moreover, at Boku we are leveraging our mobile identity products to provide additional layers of security for some mobile wallet providers.
“The pandemic has altered behaviour in many ways, with payments being no exception,” said Lee in regard to the potential rise in cash payments as lockdowns are lifted globally. “Through the research we conducted for our Mobile Wallets Report, consumers overwhelmingly prefer to use mobile payments because they offer greater convenience and speed, along with the ability to transact online as well as in-store. Mobile payments provide the flexibility of cash with the convenience and digital transaction capability that credit cards do. The pandemic has accelerated the use of digital payments in a way we expect to be long lasting, and potentially permanent.”