Mobile payments continue to be viewed as the payment system of the future, but not every executive feels that future is imminent. Speaking at the MediaPost OMMA mCommerce Conference, an executive from MasterCard pointed out that 85 percent of all payments made today involve cash and checks.
Mobile payments have been seeking ways to replace traditional payment methods, and a wide range of solutions have been developed and marketed as a viable alternative. But some experts believe the diversity of options may be the culprit.
The Apple App Store, for example, offers hundreds of different mobile wallets. This can make it difficult for consumers to sort through and decide on the best products for them. Instead of giving one mobile-wallet solution a try, many consumers become overwhelmed by the dizzying array of options and instead stick to what they know and are comfortable with. Despite a lot of talk about new offerings, the reality is that most mobile payments tend to be conducted as person-to-person money transfers.
Sorting Through the Endless Options
The wide range of mobile-payment providers is only part of the problem, though: other issues have helped block the technology from becoming a widely adopted practice. One conference panelist, for example, called out near-field communication (NFC) as a problematic innovation.
NFC allows payments to be made simply by swiping or tapping mobile devices at payment terminals. But it does have its drawbacks, one of them being that most devices aren’t equipped with this relatively new technology.
Ken Moy, a senior vice president at MasterCard, also noted that “mobile” has different meanings and functions in different countries, making a standard mobile-payment solution difficult for retailers in pursuit of a global consumer base.
In a separate interview with Ad Age, Moy said MasterCard had an active role in the development of Google Wallet and is engaged in other efforts to create effective mobile payment solutions. How those are received by the public remains to be seen.
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