Commentary

The Rise of Mobile Payments: One Person at a Time

Paying by mobile may just be a matter of numbers, basically one person learning at a time.

With so many new payment systems being introduced on a recurring basis around the world, it only seems natural that sooner or later most consumers will cross paths with one.

Shoppers hand their credit card to an employee at Sephora or Nordstrom and watch the employee swipe the card into the mobile device they carry.

They may see other consumers wave their phone in front of the scanner at a Starbucks checkout or at a LevelUp scanner near the register at a local shop.

At the National Retail Federation Expo in New York last week, VeriFone announced that it would deploy mobile payment systems at various retailers, including The Jones Group, Nine West and the Deckers Outdoors UGG Australia stores, assuring that even more shoppers will see or experience some form of mobile payments.

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Consumers can expect to see even more mobile payment activity as time goes on, as point-of-sale systems are adapted to accept mobile payments of various types.

While the idea of mobile payments has been discussed and promoted for years, the practical blend of technology and consumer behavior is relatively early.

“As an industry, we’ve overhyped mobile payments,” Erik Vlugt, vice president of product marketing at VeriFone told me recently. As the major provider of pay devices at retail, VeriFone has adapted its technology systems for payments for some time.

However, new technology for the sake of technology doesn’t move the mobile commerce needle. “It’s about changing the user experience,” says Vlugt.

It’s not just at retail where consumers are witnessing mobile payments. For example, many taxi riders have handed their credit card to the driver only to see the driver swipe the card into his phone by a credit card reader, such as Square.

VeriFone has also deployed mobile payment technology is in New York taxis, via the Way2Ride app.

During the ride, the phone can sync with the taxi’s payment system and at the end of the ride the entire transaction is managed on the phone, including tip and email receipt. It’s one more piece of the slow rise of mobile payments.

One rider and one shopper at a time.

2 comments about "The Rise of Mobile Payments: One Person at a Time".
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  1. Cody H from Some big ad agency, January 23, 2014 at 12:59 p.m.

    That's exactly the attitude we're looking to see change over the next couple years. There are lots of secure options for mobile payments, the challenge is getting people to understand, trust, and eventually adopt the usage.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, January 23, 2014 at 1:19 p.m.

    Right, Cody, a good point that many people don't yet recognize any of that.

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