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Mobile banking "won't kill card payments"

Published 25 April 2012 by

Mobile banking may be popular - and getting more popular all the time - but that doesn't mean the end of plastic cards is near.

That's the view from high up in Visa, so it's fair to assume it's a decent prediction! The comments came from Elizabeth Buse, who's the head of Visa's non-US operations. The Wall Street Journal tells us the thinking behind her comments.

In 'emerging markets' like India and Indonesia, a lot of people from the countryside are pretty much excluded from bank accounts and financial services as we'd recognise them.

So it's easy to see why mobile banking is taking off in areas like this, since it's probably their only option - and since Visa's 'aggressively seeking to reach unbanked consumers through new mobile payment platforms', as the Wall Street Journal puts it.

At the same time, though, countries like this have a growing middle class who live in more of an urban environment.

"In those markets," Ms Buse said, "you will have people who want feature-rich credit products, typically with a card - those are the people that travel a lot, who do traditional shopping online and who tend to be at the top of the pyramid."

Between the poor and the well-off, she reckons there'll be "some hybrid in between" - groups that use both kinds of banking products.

Visa has a big interest in the world outside the USA. By 2015, the company wants 50% of its revenue to come from outside its home market - and in the final three months of last year, the figure was already up to 46%.

A spokesperson for thinkmoney commented on banking and technology: "The way you bank should be a reflection of the way you live. Different people will always need different things from their bank account provider: easy mobile payments and 'feature-rich' credit cards are just two examples. So it's important to take the time to look around and choose an account that really gives you what you need."