Mobile Payments: Don’t Underestimate the Cool FactorChristina Sommer |
At a cocktail party recently, I was talking to a handful of people about how much we rely on mobile phones to run our daily lives. Naturally, given what I do for a living, I threw out a comment about how I cannot wait until we can actually use our phones to pay for our purchases at the point of sale. One of the guests was skeptical; he indicated while he’d love to use his phone for payment, he felt this was something that will not happen for several years to come. I disagreed, of course, and he asked “So what is it going to take for mobile payments to really happen”? Before I could answer, another guest chimed in; he said, “When the big phone platforms like Apple and Android add payments apps on the phones and start to promote them, we will all follow suit…you really can’t underestimate the cool factor.”
I actually get these questions a lot: When will mobile payments start to gain traction? What will it take? In truth, I agree with the second guest. Consumers will be the ones to make this happen. In most parts of the world young, affluent males will be the early adopters, according to MasterCard research, and the rest of us will be very fast followers. Payment facilities like PayPass Wallet Services will be the way of the future; a catalyst is needed, however, to get things started.
Even though Android’s market share is twice as big as Apple’s globally (see chart below), the iPhone has notoriously been the device to push trends over the edge – mostly due to the “cool factor.”
Once Apple commits to a payments protocol, and deploys it on its phones, we will see mobile payment move from a concept to reality in record speed.
Source: International Data Corporation May 2012
Topics: Payments Strategy