What's coming next for mobile payments?

Category: Payment Processing Technologies

Over the past few years, mobile payments have slowly but surely started to become more popular among consumers and merchants alike. However, some experts believe the real growth could start to show itself in 2017, as the platform gains more acceptance and companies work to figure out ways to utilize it in new ways as a means of boosting adoption.

Perhaps one of the biggest innovations could come as a result of a new service known as Amazon Go, according to Mobile Payments Today. While the platform is not yet available, it would use a smartphone's existing capabilities to let people walk into a store, grab whatever items they want, and leave without checking out. Instead of being seen as shoplifting, sensors throughout the brick-and-mortar store would detect the items they were carrying and charge them automatically as they left.

Experts believe companies will do more to boost mobile payment use in 2017.Experts believe companies will do more to boost mobile payment use in 2017.

More big shifts
However, because Amazon Go hasn't even launched, the traditional tap-to-pay option is probably the most likely frontier for payments evolution, the report said. It has long been recommended that retailers and platform developers work to incentivize use by pairing mobile payment accounts with rewards accounts so consumers get additional benefits for the tap-to-pay shopping they do every day. But now that kind of effort is actually underway, with Apple Pay recently partnering with Blackhawk Network to link such accounts, and Android Pay developing its own rewards program for users.

Further, there may be more integration of non-NFC mobile payments into NFC platforms like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, such as granting users the ability to scan a QR code to start the payment process, the report said. This option might be attractive to merchants who haven't moved to adopt yet because of the cost of obtaining a capable point-of-sale device.

More people getting onboard
Some of the efforts to push mobile payment adoption seem to be paying off in another way already, Mobile Payments Today also reported. Sales of digital gift cards that can be sent and even redeemed electronically ticked up significantly during the holiday season, and experts believe that's a trend that's likely to continue. In all, nearly 3 in 4 people say they'd prefer to receive a gift card rather than an actual present, and almost 3 in 5 say they'd prefer to send a gift card digitally to ensure prompt and convenient delivery.

"Consumers want preference and they want it now - there are no exceptions to this rule when it comes to gift cards," Krista Lee, director, product marketing, network and security solutions at First Data, told the site. "They expect convenience via mobile gifting apps while still having the option to look for the perfect plastic gift card for Mom. Bottom line, it's critical to pay attention to your customers and their gift card purchasing behavior."

With more being done to bolster the familiarity people have with mobile payments and their many iterations, the more likely the payments ecosystem will be to enjoy improved security and convenience going forward.