Children in Need, which took place this month, is an exemplar of all that is good about charity and giving. It is also a great proving ground for technology, pioneering call to pay, single drop charge charity donations and getting VAT removed from charity donations. This year was no exception.
Quietly, without anyone really noticing, this year’s Children in Need campaign showcased the use of Twitter as a payment channel. Tweet to Donate, which was run in conjunction with the Post Office and created by IMI Mobile and Mindshare allowed people to donate via twitter by following the Post Office and tweeting the amount #MakeMeAHero.
A great and convenient way to donate, I think you’ll agree. Which is why you, dear retailer, should be taking note. It is conjecture, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this project doesn’t act as a precursor to rolling out some form of Tweet to Pay technology in early 2015.
And it makes a lot of sense. It is simple and quick and everyone trusts Twitter. Retailers also understand and use the social network and get how it works. This makes it a simple way to go from nought to ninety in terms of mobile payments.
Its not such as wild idea. In the US, SnapChat and Square have joined forces to allow users to send money to each other in a simple ‘tweet’-like fashion. And given the reach of social media it makes an obvious choice of payment carrier.
The challenge with mobile payments is that there are so many different kinds out there that no one is going to take a punt on any of them until a clear leader emerges. And no clear leader will emerge with out gaining almost overnight ubiquity. None of those vying for mobile payments – apart from card companies and banks – have this ubiquity. But social media does.
Now how this could pan out remains to be seen, but it offers an interesting proposition. I suspect we will see Tweet to Donate become a staple of the charity donation arsenal, I think we will then see tweet to pay creep into TV show voting and the like. Eventually – well it could be rapidly – we will see it become a way to pay for things. Probably micropayments for things like car parking and newspapers, but eventually it could become the way we buy things in shops.
That and carrier billing. I write this the night before Mobile Convention Brussels, where I am speaking, and there has been much talk in the bar of how carrier billing in Europe could be the technology that unlocks mobile payments here in Europe. Social media payments could well be its rival or bedfellow. I think 2015 is going to see some strange new twists to the mobile payment story.