Commentary

Mobile Payments Will Reach $142 Billion in 2019

Two-thirds of the U.S. population (66%) owns a smartphone, and there are already a number of competing mobile wallet services and other mobile payment platforms to choose from. Now Apple Pay is raising the profile of mobile payments and promising, in good Apple fashion, to make them more convenient.

So it’s no surprise that mobile payments are set to almost triple over the next five years, according to a new forecast from Forrester, which predicts the volume of payments will soar from almost $50 billion this year to $142 billion in 2019. Within the latter figure, in-person mobile payments (for example, at retail checkouts) will come to $34 billion, or 24% of the total -- up from just $3.4 billion today.

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Most of the mobile payments business in 2019 will still be for remote payments, including purchases made using mobile apps and Web sites, accounting for $91 billion or 64% of the total in 2019. Meanwhile the third main category of mobile payments, peer-to-peer, will more than triple from $5.2 billion this year to $17 billion or 12% of the total in 2019.

Much of this growth will be due to Apple, which as in previous cases (MP3 players, smartphones, tablets) may be able to take a good idea and make it appealing for the masses. Indeed, Forrester expects 2015 to be “the year of Apple Pay.” However, Forrester notes that there will be ongoing debate around security issues and consumer privacy concerns.

Indeed, many Americans seem to be skeptical about the current crop of mobile payment services. Last week I wrote about a survey of 4,200 U.S. households conducted by Phoenix Marketing International, which found that two-thirds of consumers would be more likely to trust a mobile wallet app from their bank than a service like Apple Pay. Within this group, 65% said their main concern was the security of their private financial information.

A separate survey from eBay Enterprise found that 42% of consumers said they worried about the security of mobile e-commerce transactions this year, up from 34% in 2013.

"Mobile Payment" photo from Shutterstock.

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