Over the past few years, a number of companies in several different industries have tried to do more to encourage consumers and merchants alike to adopt mobile payments. The fact is that adoption has been slow but steady over the course of both 2015 and 2016, and it seems that among consumers in particular, there is a greater appetite for using this type of payment platform. Nonetheless, more is now being done to encourage people to get involved.
In much the same way as credit card rewards programs became en vogue some time ago, and many stores followed suit with branded loyalty programs shortly thereafter, industry experts now say that the companies behind these mobile payment networks may soon do more to push mobile loyalty programs as well, according to a report from American Banker. Some banks in particular have started to focus on this kind of issue because some people are starting to prefer using mobile payments to swiping or inserting their cards into a point-of-sale device.
An interesting development
Today, about 2 in every 3 affluent shoppers worldwide say they use mobile or digital payment platforms as often as possible, and it's expected that within the next three to five years, their preference will be common among most consumers, the report said. And right now, when those people shop with a digital wallet, nearly a quarter say they also use digital coupons.
"The way people shop and the way they interact with loyalty programs has changed," Lars Holmquist, senior vice president for the Americas at Collinson Group, a customer behavior research and consulting firm, told the site. "The traditional financial services firms actually have a clear opportunity to deliver highly engaging, digitally driven loyalty initiatives due to the wealth of data they collect. They need to go further in terms of using this data to improve targeting and segmentation to appeal to distinct audience groups."
Getting merchants onboard
On the other hand, while the rate of people potentially becoming more interested in using mobile wallets on a regular basis is picking up steam, that might not be the case with merchants, according to a report from Seeking Alpha. Some in the payments industry suspect that Apple in particular isn't quite adding as many merchants to the rolls of those accepting Apple Pay as it might have hoped. While some 2.5 million retail locations nationwide now accept this kind of payment, up from only 220,000 in late 2014, it's believed more work needs to be done here.
Merchants who may still be on the fence about taking on this type of payment technology might want to look at the trends in consumer adoption and consider when it no longer makes sense for them to wait on the sidelines. Given that more the lives of more people are being lived on their smartphones every day, it stands to reason that widespread use of mobile payment platforms would be coming in the near future, and merchants would be wise to keep themselves positioned to meet that rising demand.