Get to know the 6 leaders of the mobile payment revolution
The dawning of a new age is upon us. And no; we’re not talking about December 21, the end of the Mayan calendar and the end of the world as we know it. We’re talking about the dawning of the mobile payment revolution. That’s what Crain’s Chicago is calling it, at least, and if we know what’s good for us, we should start preparing for it now.
“Industry giants including Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Starbucks Corp. and eBay Inc.'s PayPal unit have launched their own mobile payment services,” Crain’s explains. “But pricey point-of-sale terminals and different technology standards and platforms have hindered widespread adoption among large retailers.” Regardless, it's essential to be familiar with the companies that are making headway in the mobile arena.
Therefore, here are just a few, care of Practical Ecommerce, many of which that use near field communication technology, which entails the wireless exchange of payment information with an NFC point-of-sale terminal:
1. PayPal: Although PayPal has seen a dramatic increase in mobile payment users since launching its NFC-based program in 2011, Practical Ecommerce says the company “believes NFC to be limiting for mobile transactions, requiring retailers to upgrade cash registers and customers to visit payment terminals to purchase goods.” Therefore, PayPal plans to bypass NFC by connecting PayPal accounts to a smartphone number and a PIN code. Shoppers can then make their purchase, choose the PayPal option, enter a phone number and enter the PIN.
2. Google Wallet: Like PayPal, Google detected an issue with NFC early on. In February, Google announced a fix to a security weakness, but a few months earlier it was already integrating Google Checkout into its Google Wallet platform. Furthermore, the search-engine giant’s ever-growing partner base, including Gap, Toys“R”Us, Macy’s, OfficeMax and Bloomingdale’s, serves as a big indication that Google’s recent strides are just the beginning.
3. Isis: AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless have plans of investing more than $100 million into Isis with smartphone partners, including HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, Research in Motion, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. They’ve also forged partnerships with Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express to potentially make Isis a mobile payment program worthy of competing with Google Wallet.
4. Apple: Apple’s EasyPay asks users to photograph a barcode to then charge purchases to said user’s iTunes account. And although Apple hasn’t announced whether the service will go beyond iTunes, it has, however, filed several software patents covering mobile payments, shopping, point-of-sale and point-of-purchase. So something is definitely in the works.
5. Square: Square made its mobile payment fame with the little white box it developed that attaches to smartphones for credit card swiping. Today, its Card Case iOS app integrates iOS5 support for geofencing, allowing opted-in users to signal a merchant when they’re within 100 meters of said merchant. At that point, “you can simply say your name at checkout to complete payment. No need to pull out your phone or open the app,” Practical Ecommerce says.
6. Dwolla: As opposed to being a payment tool for existing credit cards, Dwolla aims to make mobile payments simple and accessible for anyone connected to the Internet. The company charges 25 cents for transactions of $10 or more, and it’s free anything less than that.
So clearly, there are a lot of movers and shakers in the mobile payment space. And as long as December 21 comes and goes in the normal fashion, e-commerce retailers will want to delve deeper into those options. After all, Crain’s reported that in 2013, mobile payment transactions are forecasted to reach $640 million. By 2016, they could be as high as $62.24 billion. Those figures are according to a market outlook recently released by eMarketer Inc., a New York-based research company, and those figures are more than impressive.
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