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Citi Mobile Trial Success Exaggerated

By Kristin Moyer | March 18, 2010 | 0 Comments


Citi recently completed a mobile payments trial in India that has received a lot of press.  The trial was a 6 month Tap and Pay project that involved 250 merchants in Bengaluru.   Most of the articles I’ve read on this trial are saying it was wildly successful.  I did some math to see if this was really the case.

A total of 43,257 transactions were made over the 6 month period.  Assuming this is approximately 180 days, that means somewhere around 240 mobile payments occurred per day.  With 250 participating merchants, this comes out to <1 transaction per day per merchant.

The Japanese market is often cited as a success story by proponents of contactless and mobile contactless solutions. However, looking below the surface reveals another reality (Gartner customers please see here).  Japanese consumers are estimated to make 1.8 contactless retail transactions per month per contactless device, and 4.7 customers make a contactless transaction on each contactless point of sale (POS) per day. This is not yet a success story.

The estimates for the Citi trial in India and the Japanese market don’t imply that adoption is insignificant, but they don’t back up the success stories depicted in some publications and research reports.

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