To sell consumers on changing their payment habits, businesses and vendors in advanced countries will have to offer discounts or other benefits, analyst Schropfer said. In that sense, mobile commerce today is like a vast laboratory of experiments to find what will motivate users to try something new.
PayDragon thinks it's found a way to give consumers something they can't get with other methods of payment. One service it offers is the ability to pay for food at a restaurant while standing in line and looking at the menu, in order to save time at the checkout counter.
But PayDragon has to get the restaurant to adopt its system first, then attract consumers one step at a time, said Hamilton Chan, the company's CEO.
"It's a very, very tricky and daunting task to make all of this happen," Chan said. Consumers have to know about the company and have an Internet connection to download the app, then create an account and associate a credit card with it, and then make a purchase and get in the habit of using the system, he said. "Going down that funnel is extremely difficult."