Is Mobile Payments Ready to take off?

May 1, 2014
min read

Over the past few years we’ve seen several mobile payments ventures gain plenty of momentum but never take off or become mainstream.

Another mobile payments system has launched today – Paym. Paym links your cellphone number to your bank, which enables you to pay with your mobile device.Let’s hope that Paym is able to make a reasonable impact to mobile payments innovation.

We would also expect that with the wearable tech trend and its symbiotic relationship with mobile payments it seems that it’s only a matter of time before mobile payments become the norm. For example the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 watch will enable people wearing the watch to pay with paypal using their watch.

Not too long ago, Ariel Bardin, the head of Google payments stressed their commitment to mobile payments. Google Wallet has struggled over the past few years but is still a major contender. It recently opened up its cloud-based technology “host card emulation” or HCE to developers, which enables anyone to leverage NFC. This also allows merchants to embed easy payments buttons into their websites that where customers can use the Google wallet to pay. With Google’s commitment, it’s very possible in the next few years they will be making a serious impact to mobile payments.Something potentially more impactful is Apple.

Apple’s large customer base and iTunes infrastructure poises Apple to be at the frontline of mobile payments. They now have 800 million iTunes accounts linked to customer credit cards, which Amazon only has a fraction of this.With this customer base and their technology improvements, they can turn iTunes into a total e-commerce and mobile payments business. Touch ID – where a customer uses their fingerprint to unlock a phone can be used as a verification process to approve transactions. This helps consumers “feel” more secure than a typical PIN or passcode.

iBeacon is another technology is already on its way where a Bluetooth signal is sent to a consumer’s phone and their device will show an alert for some discount close to the consumer’s location.

So when will mobile payments take off?Consumers are ready for it, so it seems like only a matter of time. What needs to happen in addition is the proper technology needs to be developed, then adopted by merchants and businesses alike. Once the technology problem is solved, businesses will be the last caveat before mobile payments becomes mainstream.