We recently had a discussion with a leading retail software house about Mobile Payment. Vista is an organisation that supports nothing but retail technology, as soon as the word “mobile” is added to a product, we think “butter fingers”. The damage caused to mobile devises is mainly caused by clumsy staff not faulty hardware.
In transaction terms, there are still more cash payments than card payments and the contactless market seems not to be making much headway into cash. It’s just transferring smaller transaction from Chip and Pin to Touch and Go.
Their conclusion was that mobile payment is likely to catch on but not as contactless card payments or Near Field Communication devices but is more likely to be electronic transfer such as Google Wallet or PayPal.
Within days of this, Starbucks bring out their own version of a Starbucks Wallet. Starbucks are not contactless yet and this circumvents the need to be, provided the customers sign up to a Starbucks card. I admit that it’s unlikely that other retailers will start to take the Starbucks Wallet as a form of payment but what if Tesco began to use their App to take payment. Would other retailers start to accept the Tesco Wallet?
Contactless, Electronic Wallet or Store Apps are only likely to take off through consumer demand. In a recent survey that I conducted (a sample of 6 during dinner on Saturday) no one thought they had a contactless card. In fact everyone did! None of them had used them and, when I explained how they worked, all of them had security concerns of one form or another. In fairness, at least two of them didn’t actually understand the technology and their concerns were foundless. But it does show that unless Mobile Payment gets its finger out and hits the High Street soon, it runs the risk of being the same as RFID in retail, a great idea but likely to be for the few not the many as technology passes it by.