GUEST WRITER: Is it time for native mobile payments?

With UK smartphone penetration set to almost double to 78% by 2016 (eMarketer, April 2012), it’s not really surprising that smartphones are already changing the way we live, work and shop. Users are increasingly using their mobile devices to update their social media, play online games and browse the internet – in fact mobile internet browsing has almost doubled from the first quarter of 2012 to the corresponding quarter this year (Monetate Ecommerce quarterly, 2013). 

There are also now a healthy number of smartphone users trying to make purchases through their devices. The issue is that two thirds of these purchases fail to complete (Harris Interactive, March 2013). This leaves m-commerce lagging heavily behind e-commerce with desktop conversions currently sized as three times the size of smartphone conversions (Monetate 2013 Ecommerce quarterly). 

There are a number of reasons for failed purchases on mobile devices, with the most common being difficult checkout methods and transaction failures. A recent survey found that over half (51% – Harris Interactive, March 2013) of consumers buying through their smartphone find it too difficult to enter their credit/debit information. 

The question businesses should be asking themselves is “how should we deal with the increasingly mobile consumer?” Businesses are seeing lots of traffic from mobile sources, but the current transaction conversion is low. 

Businesses are currently pursuing web based solutions to increase the number of converted transactions. However, m-commerce and e-commerce are wildly different animals and this approach will not work. Businesses should be looking to develop native payment systems within applications as this is the best way to speed up transaction speeds and thereby reduce failures. 

Payments should be the least exciting and painless part of a build for developers. Businesses want to spend time attracting customers and building a platform that is stable and user friendly. However, too much time is currently spent on tying together the disparate sections that make payments possible, such as user interface, merchant accounts, and gateway services, as well as managing payments on their end. For example, UK taxi app, Hailo, had to build its own payment system from the ground up, including a system to manage payments to taxi drivers, taking a cut of the transaction themselves and the risk management of taking card payments. 

But what if you are an early stage start up, on a shoe string budget with only one developer? Card payments are either out of reach or as seen in the research above, poorly developed. 

For apps to flourish in the UK, native card payment infrastructure must be inexpensive to build, easy to implement and be truly scalable allowing companies to focus their attentions on the quality of the apps they are producing and services they provide. With judo payments, developers have a ready-made payments engine that they can simply drop into their apps and enable reliable, secure mobile transactions from day one.


By Dennis Jones, CEO, Judo

About the author:

Dennis Jones is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about consumer experience, design and all things mobile. He is the CEO of the London based mobile payments firm judo Payments ( which provides card payments for mobile apps and a platform for creating custom mobile payment solutions through an elegantly simple, secure platform. 

Prior to leading Judo, Dennis founded two small companies in the retail and medtech industries and advised venture capital and private equity investors in the high growth technology, eCommerce, and financial services sectors. 

Dennis also received an MBA from Stanford and is deeply involved with global education reform in his spare time.

Related reading

Leave a comment