The Future of Mobile Payments
The Money 20/20 Conference held in October in Las Vegas brought the future of mobile payments into the forefront of the FinTech world’s minds, which could be the cause of the recent forecast by eMarketer which predicts a massive growth (210%) in mobile payment usage in 2016.
That’s an amazing increase, but part of the reason behind it is that at the moment people just aren’t using mobile payment technology. Perhaps there are too many obstacles, or perhaps they’re not being given enough of a reason to use it – any new technology trend should make the object of the technology easier for consumers, and that doesn’t seem to have happened so far.
Karen Webster of Market Platform Dynamics spoke about this at the Code/Mobile conference and said “The U.S. is embarrassingly behind the rest of the world in mobile payments, despite being the largest card market in the world and despite playing around the mobile payments game for a long time.” She suggested that while consumers were eager to try new technology, they weren’t given enough of an incentive to switch from wallet to mobile.
What Are Mobile Payments?
Mobile payment technologies allow spenders to use smartphones, or even smartwatches, to pay for items, much like contactless credit and debit cards, using a contactless reader. You simply add your credit or debit card to the mobile product you have and hold your phone up to either the dedicated terminal (for retailers using NFC “near-field communication” technology) or the regular credit card terminal.
Products at the Forefront of Mobile Payments
Apple Pay – Apple Pay is only available on Apple Devices (starting with the iPhone 6 and later), and requires NFC technology to work. The fact that few retailers accept Apple Pay at the moment (though that looks like changing in 2016) means that current users are limited in their options.
Samsung Pay – Samsung Pay has an edge over Apple Pay in that it doesn’t require an NFC terminal to work – you can use your phone just as you would a contactless credit or debit card.
Android Pay – Formerly known as Google Wallet, Android Pay has the advantages both of being accepted at many retailers and working on any Android phone that has NFC technology.
Looking to the Future
In terms of ease of use, mobile payment apps are set to become standard features on newly released smartphones, meaning it’s going to be much easier for consumers to use. Most of us always have our smartphones with us, so using mobile payment technology means we can leave our wallets at home. 2016 is definitely set to be a year of mobile payments.