June 5, 2019
Mobile payments represent the next frontier in seamless commerce. Our mobile devices are the hub of nearly all our daily activities, and they have the potential to become the nexus of all our commercial interactions as well. When the payment form factor is a mobile device, instead of a card (or a check, or cash), all the contextual information – like rewards numbers, coupons, payment history – can be automatically loaded onto the transaction, allowing for a customized, data-driven user experience. And it all happens in the background: one authenticated tap and it’s securely done.
Consumers have a lot to gain from embracing mobile payments, not least of which is the sheer number of payment options. There are many different ways to pay with a mobile device, from dedicated peer-to-peer payment apps like Venmo and Square Cash, to payment capability embedded in retailer apps like Starbucks’ mobile app, to QR-code based apps like Alipay and WeChatPay, to tap-and-pay mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. In-app mobile payments, whether in the context of gaming or retail, are another fast-growing segment, as are payments made at a mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) like those offered by Square or CardFlight.
In 2018, 55 million people in the U.S. used their smartphone to make a payment at a physical point of sale, whether by loading money into a closed-loop mobile app (like the Starbucks app) or by loading a credit or debit card into an open-loop mobile wallet (like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay) and using it to pay at the point of sale.
The ETA Mobile Payments Committee reviews the State of Mobile Payments in the United States in its latest whitepaper. The report examines contactless transactions at the point of sale that are made with a mobile device, and presents data on adoption, usage, consumer attitudes, and projections for the future. The payments industry is working to make paying with a mobile device as natural as swiping or dipping a card or pulling out a dollar bill. Read the full report here.