Payforit Under the Spotlight

Representatives from mobile aggregators, operators, industry bodies and content and service providers, gathered at the Grand Fitzrovia Hotel in London last week to discuss the growth, evolution and pros and cons of the mobile payment initiative, Payforit.
Guiom Peersman, Managing Director of mobile marketing firm Dialogue, was joined by Rory Maguire, Head of Payments Services, UK, at Three, Del Dias, Managing Director of mobile content, marketing and technology company, AEI Mobile, and AIME (Association for Interactive Media & Entertainment) representative Andrew Darling, to discuss Payforits position in relation to more ingrained payment options such as credit cards. The panel also analysed how Payforit has performed over the last two years and what the industry can do to hasten its growth, as well as considering whether people actually want the scheme.
Peersman noted that, since its inception in 2006, Payforit has seen two major developments. These include Web Payforit and Single Click, with Web Payforit being targeted as the major initiative for growth, in conjunction with the major increase in mobile broadband use, whereas Single click is predominantly aimed at and will be most valuable to, repeat purchasers.
At our last Payforit seminar in 2007, I predicted that Payforit would dominate m-payments for some time to come, but that it was by no means the finished product, Peersman told attendees at the event. This prediction has been realised with the introduction of Web Payforit and Single Click, however, we still have a way to go in reaching our ultimate goal of making Payforit a consistent and recognisable brand for consumers across all WAP sites.
Peersman also said that the industry needs to get away from the idea of Payforit being seen solely as a mobile content buying solution.
The content market has levelled off and with the launch of Web Payforit, new markets are being  identified, such as e-vouchers, CDs and books, thus widening its appeal, and providing the consumer with another payment option using mobile billing, but more importantly, reaching those buyers who dont have bank accounts, credit or debit cards, he said.
3's Maguire, echoed these sentiments, saying:
Mobile services are stuck in a rut, consumers have lost interest and due to the current recession people have cut back on traditional mobile content purchases. This drop in spending then tempts providers towards scams, which invokes increased regulatory pressure.
What is required is the pricing clarity of Payforit, helping to rebuild the consumers trust, by providing them with a safe buying environment. Payforit helps define the good from the bad, but growth is limited on pure handset content. I believe Web Payforit will change the game, and open up new opportunities, as well as protect consumers. It is a mountain of gold that no one has as yet tapped into.
AEI Mobile's Dias considered Payforit from the angle of the music industry, discussing how the ringtone craze is now all but over, and stressing that for AEI, mobile payments are very much part of the company mix, rather than a channel in their own right.
Dias said that AEI Mobile cannot rely on mobile payments alone to sell music, due to a number of factors, including the sizable royalties that must be paid to record companies to license their music. However the company is selling tickets for AEI events via mobile using Payforit, which is proving to be more favourable and seeing a high number of tickets bought.
He then described mobile billing as being in flux, saying: 
I support Payforit, but there are still issues to get over. There is not an immediate solution and time is needed to resolve these matters. I also feel that the development process of Payforit has been quite painful, and perhaps that is the problem created when competing operators work together on the same project. I am optimistic for the future and for a growth in revenues, but I dont think these will come solely from mobile, but a convergence of mobile and traditional Internet.
Peersman brought the event to a close saying:
Payforit has moved along way in last two years and purchasing over the mobile Internet is increasing. However, it will still take some time to establish the brand. We envisage great opportunities for web Payforit, although we are not expecting users to suddenly stop using credit cards and start using Payforit; the process will be more gradual than that. But we believe it is providing a new billing solution for people who cant use the payment options available to them today.