Mobile payment technologies have arrived! A host of new studies are confirming that a quiet “revolution” is taking place behind the scenes of stodgy, old payment methods, and yielding growth curve statistics that are out of this world. In one Pew Research Center study, it concluded that, “swiping mobile phones could replace cash and credit cards both online and in stores within the next decade.” Clearly one third of all smartphone users are already conducting banking chores while on the go. Migrating to mobile payments and to the Point-of-Sale in a big way is just around the corner.
According to Gartner, a major consulting firm that keeps tabs on all things electronic, we will already reach $171.5 billion in worldwide mobile transaction volume in 2012. This dollar volume follows 2011 where mobile payment growth and all other electronic payments accounted for 28.3 billion transactions, as stated in a report from CapGemini, another global consulting firm. Debit transactions, those where an encrypted “PIN” permits access to cash bank accounts, increase 15.2% in 2010 for non-cash transactions, a harbinger of the obvious “tsunami” in the making.
Aside from this attention devoted to dramatic growth, what is driving these changes in public payment behavior? There is a “race” that is ongoing, much like what transpired over a decade ago with the advent of the Internet. Information technology is once again redefining the “retail” playing field. The “train” has left the station. Merchants and consumers, alike, would be wise to jump on the “train” now, before it gets out of sight. The final “surviving” technology has yet to be determined, but there are a host of companies rushing innovative solutions to the marketplace, each one hopeful that they will be the ultimate “winners” this time around.
The “momentum” comes from the nature of information networks in our modern time. The business model starts from the center, where investments and innovations can be launched. The objective then becomes “pushing” as much “value” down to the network endpoints as can be managed, while “monetizing” the process in some efficient fashion. The degree of the value proposition, however, depends totally on the “intelligence” available at the endpoint. In the not-too-distant past, the “endpoint” was a merchant terminal or a consumer’s PC at home or in his lap.
What has changed? The smartphone has an operating system that can permit access to the Internet! Bingo! More intelligence at the endpoint means more “value” possibilities. The imagination is the only limiting factor to what might occur going forward. The only certainty is that more change will come and