Mobile Payment Channels Explained

Throughout Europe, the percentage of online payments made on mobile is growing significantly. Research from PPRO found that in the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Czech Republic, Norway and Sweden and Denmark, at least half of all online payments were made by mobile. Statista forecasts that by 2024, mobile commerce retail sales in the UK will reach a value of £105.28 bn – more than double its value in 2019.

As telecom companies roll out 5G services throughout Europe, the share will only increase. 

What are mobile payments and how should you use them in your ecommerce business? Let’s find out.

What is a mobile channel?

A mobile payment channel is a method of paying for goods or services online using a mobile phone. Which channels are available differs from country to country even within Europe as does how popular each method is. 

Digital wallets, mobile wallets or ewallets store and encrypt identification and payment information. Apple Pay, for example, is a digital wallet that can store many different banks and fintechs in addition to store cards, gift cards and loyalty cards. 

Types of mobile payments

Mobile payments are an important part of an omnichannel payment strategy. Your payment service provider may integrate with several of these types of payments or only a few. It’s up to you to decide which combination of payment methods is essential and choose the payment service provider that lets you offer them.

NFC mobile payments

Near-field communication (NFC) allows a smart device to wirelessly share data when in close range with another device. NFC mobile payment systems, such as Apple Pay, allow smart device users to complete contactless payments. 

Since in-person point of sale is not available at most ecommerce shops, NFC payments are not a major consideration except for physical stores. Quick response codes, or QR codes, are not NFC payments since the customer has to activate the code.

In-app mobile payments

In-app mobile payments are digital payments made via a store’s app. The key feature is that consumers can complete a transaction within a single, closed ecosystem, meaning they don’t need to exit the app to validate the transaction. Amazon is the best-known example of this, though there are many others. If your ecommerce business is large enough to support its own payment ecosystem, you will benefit from a higher conversion rate that comes from having fewer checkout steps.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payments

Peer-to-peer mobile payments are payments via third-party payment platforms, such as PayPal. Consumers can facilitate P2P mobile payments on an app with the use of a smart device. 

Browser-based mobile payments 

Similar to desktop-based shopping, browser-based mobile payments allow shoppers to complete transactions without the card present. All they need is their credit or debit card details, often already stored in their phone, and their billing address information. 

As opposed to an in-app mobile payment, the customer visits the business’s website directly on their mobile browser and checks out. Many smaller ecommerce businesses opt for this configuration in conjunction with Apple Pay or PayPal and whatever local payment methods (iDEAL or Bancontact) are popular.

How mobile payments work 

To pay for a transaction via a mobile payment channel, a customer must first link their preferred funding source – debit or credit card, bank account – to the mobile channel they would like to use. They only have to do this once and the data is stored on the mobile payment channel’s servers.

Companies that accept mobile payments either need to have the same channel available in their checkout or use a payment service provider that allows them to accept that payment option

The benefits of having a mobile channel payment solution

Given the forecasts for the explosion in mobile payments over the next five years, the benefits of offering these payment methods should be clear. A functional mobile payment channel has optimized checkout speed and security.


Using a mobile payment channel means the customer’s data – card number, name, CVV – is likely already stored in that app or their browser. If you are currently offering only browser-based payments, chances are your customer will have to get up off their couch, go find their wallet and then enter their card details to complete their purchase. Eliminating these extra steps is a big conversion win.


Your payment service provider should already be offering your customers the latest in PSD2, SCA and PSI DSS protection including the encryption of their personal data. If a customer is using a mobile wallet, there is another layer of protection in the form of tokenization. 

Any personal information entered – card number, CVV, address – is replaced with a series of randomly generated numbers. This token is what’s used to complete the payment process.

How can I start accepting mobile payments?

How easily you can accept mobile payments depends on which combination of payment gateways, payment processors and payment service providers you’re using. If your PSP offers mobile payments, usually it’s just a matter of toggling on the Apple Pay switch in your payments dashboard. 

Grow your business with Mollie

Whether it’s Apple Pay or PayPal, or even both, Mollie is here to help your business hit the ground running when it comes to accepting mobile payments. As Europe’s fastest-growing payment service provider, we’ve already helped over 130,000 businesses get future-ready. Sign up with Mollie today and find out what we can do for your business.

Get better payments now.