Mobile Payment Predictions: NFC Grows, Focus On Security, Omni-Channel Gets Real

One thing I like about predictions is that, at least eventually, you can see how good they were.

Another aspect is that if they’re made by someone who at least should be in the know, they can point to some potential trends, even if the end prediction isn’t realized.

Since it’s early in the year, the annual predictions around mobile payments are coming out, as expected.

As usual, the predictions are for good times ahead in the world of mobile payments.

Ingenico Group, one of the two major suppliers of mobile payment terminals (the other is Verifone) around the world, aggregated some of the predictions of other experts along with its own.

So here are what some of those in the know see for mobile payments this year:

  • Mobile point of sale will become more pervasive. Jeremy Gumbley, chief technology officer of Creditcall, expects more mobile point of sale activity mostly because of the move to payments by credit cards with chips in them. Rob Cameron, chief product officer of Moneris Solutions, expects iPads for payments allowing storeowners in small and medium size businesses to pick up and move with the customer for payments on-the-fly. This type of mobile, mobile payments is familiar to anyone who has made a purchase at an Apple or Verizon Wireless store.
  • The NFC, contactless payment ecosystem will grow. Norm Merritt, CEO of ShopKeep, expects more merchants to adopt NFC payments this year, especially in quick service restaurants. He sees the main benefit in getting people to move through lines more quickly. Even though possible with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, not all terminals readily accept any form of NFC payment.
  • The omni-channel strategy will become a reality. There had to be one forecast dealing with omni-channel, of course. Benoit Boudier, in corporate strategy at Ingenico Group, says that the buzzword of omni-channel will be transformed into concrete solutions that help customers solve their main pain points. He sees merchants as focused on solutions that allow them to stay connected to consumers throughout the entire buyer’s journey, including in-store, online and mobile. This is another one some retailers have been working on for what seems like forever.
  • Payment security will be a big focus. Ruston Miles, chief innovation officer at Bluefin Payment Systems, points to the highly publicized credit card breaches last year as a main driver of merchants rethinking their approaches to security. If nothing else, security is commonly at the top of the consumer’s list of mobile payment issues in most payment studies. And for good reason.
  • Merchants will explore value-added services. We’ve frequently noted that using a mobile phone for payments, by itself, is typically no easier than using a credit card or cash. Richard Giannini, vice president of Ingenico Group, expects that in two years and beyond business owners will look to value-added services and combining payments with other third-party business apps. Without value-added services, mobile payments are likely to remains on their glacier-growth pace.
  • More retailers will adopt unattended payment solutions. This strikes me as one of the most interesting. Greg Burch, vice president of strategic initiatives at Ingenico Group, sees vending machines and kiosks driving acceptance of mobile wallets, as these types of payment devices grow within retail environments. He predicts retailers will  add more kiosks inside their stores to help streamline the checkout experience for products that don’t need a lot of consultation. The idea is that a vending machine inside a store would contain routine items, such as batteries or phone cords, so a shopper could walk into a store, go to the machine, pick an item, pay by phone and be on their way.

The reality is that for any or all of these predictions to occur this year will take some consumer acceptance or adoption, which can be somewhat of a challenge.

For example, a widely reported study from Citi Retail Services pointed out that even though mobile wallet adoption has been slow on the uptake, there’s great potential if consumers can be educated about it. The study found that 44% of consumers lack knowledge about digital wallets.

A year from now, we’ll see how on-target these predictions were.

For the most part, mobile payments in one form or another are growing. The most significant, and unknown factor, is what will be the speed of adoption this year.

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