Mobile payments continue to gain steam

Category: Merchant Processing Industry

When mobile payments were first introduced to the masses, the platforms were mainly utilized by a small number of early adopters, both on the shopper and retailer sides. But over the past few years, the number of participants on both sides of the equation has risen slowly but surely, and at this point a much larger number of consumers in particular now use these platforms on a regular basis. And as time goes on, the rate of adoption seems to be speeding up.

In fact, the number of transactions that went through the Apple Pay mobile platform for the three-month period ending in September this year increased 500 percent on an annual basis, according to NFC World. In fact, that number of transactions was so significant that the month of September alone exceeded the number of purchases Apple handled over the entire course of the 2015 fiscal year.

Mobile payments continue to pick up steam in the U.S. and globally.Mobile payments continue to pick up steam in the U.S. and globally.

Broadening the market
Part of this is occurring because Apple continues its efforts to expand Apple Pay to new countries around the globe, the report said. In the past few months alone, Apple Pay became available in Japan, New Zealand and Russia. Spain is next on the docket. Many of these countries are ahead of the U.S. in terms of adopting the latest payments technologies, and it is therefore likely that they will be more eager to adopt these platforms than their American counterparts have been to this point.

"Earlier this month, I visited Japan where Apple Pay went live yesterday. Japanese customers are already in the habit of making contactless payments where they commute, dine and shop and so we expect a strong response and rapid adoption of Apple Pay," Apple CEO Tim Cook said on a recent investor conference call, according to the site. "Around the world we're seeing very strong growth in transaction volume through Apple Pay, which also launched in Russia and New Zealand this month and is coming to Spain in the next few months."

Getting more people onboard
Meanwhile, though, more companies are trying to encourage further adoption of mobile payment options in the U.S. in a number of different ways, according to Beta News. Perhaps the most notable of these is that payment processing companies are adding actual incentives for these kinds of payments in conjunction with merchants. In much the same way retailers will offer instant discounts, coupons, and rebates to shoppers on their loyalty programs, the hope is that mobile platforms can be connected to those existing initiatives to encourage more use on an ongoing basis.

However, merchants should also take note that mobile payments are gaining steam without those kinds of deals being in place. As a consequence, those who haven't yet moved to adopt point-of-sale devices capable of handling near-field communications-based purchases could fall behind their more forward-thinking competitors. The sooner they are able to accept mobile payments, the more likely they will be to engage with early adopters.