Study Reveals Digital Divide In New Generation Of Mobile Phone Based Payment Systems

May 5, 2010

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – May 5, 2010) – A study just released by the Neil Squire Society finds that the “Digital Divide” has widened with the creation of the new generation of mobile phone based payment (M-Payment) systems. New devices and services create new barriers for people with disabilities. New technology is often not designed with their needs in mind. The study looked at four types of M-Payment systems: voice activated, web-based, text messaging, and a combination text messaging and web based style applications. The study was conducted in several cities across Canada. It involved users who were blind, hard of hearing, deaf and those with severe mobility impairments. The study summarizes the key barriers encountered by each of the disability groups.

The use of M-Payments in North America (United States and Canada) is expected to rise to $26.9 billion by 2013, a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 98%. In addition, North America will account for 24% of the world market share for Mobile Payments by Gross Transaction Values. An important change in how consumers buy goods is underway.

The Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently recognized that the issues of people with disabilities are not being fully addressed by the wireless telecommunications industry. They have issued directives to encourage industry to address these issues, but industry has traditionally been slow to respond. The merging of financial services and telecommunications combine two services that consumers consider fundamental to how they go about their every day activities. Without a proactive approach by all stakeholders, people with disabilities will be severely marginalized.

“New technologies are being released at an accelerated pace without much thought as to how it will affect people of all abilities. With an aging population, more and more people are acquiring disabilities as they age, so this is a significant and growing issue. The study is an opportunity for key stakeholders to discuss the barriers that exist and to make important changes early on so that people with disabilities are not continuing to be excluded”, said Dr. Gary Birch, Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society.

This study was funded by the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnership Program – Disability Component. For more information on this study or to obtain a copy of this report please contact: Harry Lew, Manager of Research and Development at: Ph: 604-412-7599, EMAIL:

About the Neil Squire Society

The Neil Squire Society is the only not-for-profit organization in Canada that for the past 25 years has used technology, knowledge and passion to empower Canadians with physical disabilities. The Society has developed innovative programs and services and some of the world’s leading edge assistive technology for people with physical disabilities.

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If you’d like more information about this topic, please contact Harry Lew by phone at 604-412-7599 or by e-mail at

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