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    Mobile payments market on the rise

    While smartphones have been ubiquitous for the past few years, their applications continue to expand.

    While smartphones have been ubiquitous for the past few years, their applications continue to expand. Financial services and tech engineers continue to develop payment platforms that can streamline commercial operations for both businesses and consumers. As a result, the mobile payment market is growing swiftly.

    The numbers behind mobile payments
    WorldPay noted in a recent report that mobile payments for e-commerce will grow more than six-fold from $18 billion worth of global sales in 2012 to approximately $117 billion by 2017, according to Mobile Payments Today.

    The report gathered a multitude of telling statistics that outlined the continued emergence of mobile technologies in all walks of life, including payments. The number of smartphones around the world has topped 1.4 billion, marking an annual growth rate of about 44 percent. Per capita, Europe leads the way with mobile phone ownership – about 88 percent of the continent's population. While 54 percent of the population in North America has a mobile phone, the total population of owners tops all other continents.

    While mobile devices are already deeply entrenched in global commerce, the mobile payments market is still underdeveloped, leaving plenty of room for growth.

    "Due to the infancy of many of these solutions, they predominantly only operate in their own local country or territory, with only a very small number demonstrating a truly global capability," the report noted. "[Direct carrier billing] has become an important payment mechanism with the rise of smartphones and app stores, and aligns well with the purchase of digital goods and in-app payments."

    Visa CEO keeps pace with the market
    Charles Scharf, the CEO of Visa, recently spoke with investors and analysts about the vast potential of mobile payments, NFC World reported.

    When the iPhone 6 was launched, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that more than one million credit or debit cards were loaded to the device's first 72 hours of operation. Visa represented more than 600,000 of those cards. Scharf said that the company will also continue to develop its own mobile payment solutions.

    "We're looking at this as an opportunity," Scharf said, according to the news outlet. "One, to be both where the natural growth is, but two, to help migrate all those cash transactions, whether they're big value transactions or small value transactions, into the electronic space where we'll hopefully capture more than our fair share. This is the future of commerce, we want to be there."