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Why mobile payment systems aren’t catching on

Mobile payment platforms offer convenience, enhanced security, and more, so why aren’t more customers using them?

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Mobile payment systems and adoption rates

Samsung’s new mobile payment system, scheduled to release this summer, will solve on of the biggest limitations of Apple’s mobile pay system: the ability to work anywhere. Samsung’s system will work even at the millions of old-fashioned checkout terminals that don’t have a wireless connection.

While this is definitely a step in the right direction, Samsung faces a different, although equally serious, problem: none of the major mobile phone carriers have announced the pre-installation of Samsung’s software, meaning customers may have to add it on their own.

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Apple has deals with carriers to enable them to have greater control over hardware and software features. Add Google’s recent partnership deal (with formerly known Softcard) to add better pay technology to Google Wallet, and Samsung’s problems just got a bit more serious.

It’s not just Apple, Samsung is in on it, too

Samsung unveiled their new technology at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as part of the Galaxy S6 smartphone. The new phone will include a Near Field Communication chip, just like the latest iPhones, allowing the payment system to work wirelessly at stores with similarly equipped checkout terminals.

But, Samsung is also using the technology it recently acquired when it bought LoopPay last month. This allows a phone to send out magnetic signals, which can be registered as a swiped credit card at old-fashioned checkout registers. This allows the technology to work wherever credit cards are accepted.

Apple has seen greater success with Apple Pay than any previous mobile payment effort. But since Apple Pay requires one of the latest iPhones and only works at a fraction of U.S. retail outlets, that success is still limited. This could be one of the reason why some brands are giving away free card readers: to help adoption rates. As Matt Shultz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com aptly put it: “The biggest obstacles to mobile payments usage are convenience and security. Consumers are already very comfortable swiping their credit and debit cards. Most people don’t see why a mobile payments service would be quicker, easier or more secure.”

Study addresses adoption rates

A recent study by CreditCards.com and Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) found U.S. consumers are no more interested in paying for purchases using mobile phones than they were six months ago, when Apple unveiled its high-profile pay-by-iPhone technology known as Apple Pay, according to a new poll from CreditCards.com.

The poll suggests that even though the number of mobile payments is growing dramatically, with Apple Pay becoming a dominant method, skeptics of paying by phone remain unmoved. Mobile payments in the U.S. are expected to nearly triple in the next five years, to $142 billion in 2019, according to the latest projection from Forrester Research. The fastest growing subcategory is in-person payments, like mobile wallets and are expected to grow tenfold in the next five years from $3.7 billion in 2014. Other mobile payment categories, peer-to-peer transfers, and remote transactions, are anticipated to grow more slowly.

Much of the growth will come about due to Apple Pay

Apple Pay certainly wasn’t the first mobile wallet, but Apple introduced a core of loyal followers to the concept. Peter Olynick, practice lead with Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group stated, “Apple Pay was a major event just because of the size, scale and number of people …the fan base, if you will…that Apple brings with it; given the size of that company, it is almost impossible for them to do anything small.”

While I agree with this sentiment, I think there’s something about Apple people, by and large, find to be innately innovative, whether it is or not. Apple lovers were anxious to test out Apple Pay just for the sheer novelty of the concept and now with multiple data breaches from companies like Home Depot and Target, people are more worried now about security, especially mobile security than ever before.

The takeaway

While mobile payment platforms offer convenience and novelty, it may be a while before consumers fully trust and understand them enough to use them with consistent regularity.

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  1. Pingback: Internet of Useless Things site mocks our reliance on technologies - AGBeat

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