Mobile payment (also referred to as mobile money, mobile money transfer, and mobile wallet) generally refer to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device. Instead of paying with cash, cheque, or credit cards, a consumer can use a mobile device to pay for a wide range of services and digital or hard goods. Although the concept of using non-coin-based currency systems has a long history, it is only in the 21st century that the technology to support such systems has become widely available.
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In developing countries mobile payment solutions have been deployed as a means of extending financial services to the community known as the "unbanked" or "underbanked", which is estimated to be as much as 50% of the world's adult population, according to Financial Access' 2009 Report "Half the World is Unbanked". These payment networks are often used for micropayments. The use of mobile payments in developing countries has attracted public and private funding by organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United States Agency for International Development and Mercy Corps.
Mobile payments are becoming a key instrument for payment service providers (PSPs) and other market participants, in order to achieve new growth opportunities, according to the European Payments Council (EPC). The EPC states that "new technology solutions provide a direct improvement to the operations efficiency, ultimately resulting in cost savings and in an increase in business volume".