Mobile Payments: Look, No Hands!
Mobile payments are entering the realm of more buying with less activity.
A number of indicators point to the idea of letting mobile consumers pay with as little effort as possible.
For example, PayPal this week announced its PayPal Beacon, which will allow consumers to automatically check in at stores.
Rather than using NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, PayPal is using Bluetooth for transmission of information. Consumers then can pay hands free.
Apple’s new iPhone fingerprint reader unveiled this week is another potential indicator, as the phone becomes a highly secure device for payments, which conceptually could be tied into iTunes. People already are used to buying there.
Another example is Square, which has for some time allowed mobile consumers to walk into a store and have their information essentially sent to the cash register for the store associate to see. A quick message then lets the consumer pay without having to go through a physical checkout process.
This is the idea of passive payment, essentially being able to pay without being highly active.
The interesting aspect of this approach is that it’s not credit-card like.
A common refrain by many in the industry, including credit card companies, is that for mobile payments to take off they have to be easier to use than using a credit card, a pretty high bar. (Or provide additional value, of course).
Not having to take a phone out of your pocket or purse to pay may be considered to be easier than using a credit card.
Monitoring how well initiatives like those from the PayPal and Squares of the world should provide a clue.