First we had cash and cheques. Next the debit and credit card. Now the dawn of mobile payment is upon us, and it’s hard to see it not being a huge success.
Contactless technology’s success is self-evident. It has been embraced, and applauded for its convenience, ease of use and efficiency. In 2013 alone £94 million of the UK’s spending was purchased by the simple tap of a card on a screen - No more forgetting your PIN and worrying about endless receipts clogging up your wallet.
A large part of the success of contactless has been driven by its introduction to TFL, Transport for London system. According to the UK Card Association in 2014 over 17,200,000 Bus journeys were made by contactless, and over 14,200,000 rail journeys. That’s over 31,000,000 contactless transactions in one year alone: 85,000 contactless touches a day! So now if you lose your Oyster card, or run out of credit, you simply tap away with your debit card and on you go.
Remember the old days and the panic induced by losing your wallet? Well, the new Alpha Male in Payment town, the smart phone, could soon put an end to all that. With the birth of Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Samsung Pay, the need for a wallet stuffed full of loyalty cards and coupons from supermarkets starts to reduce. While the age of the wallet isn’t over yet, the embracement of mobile payment by the millennials means it is on borrowed time.
And it is these millennials who are going to drive the progression of mobile payments. They already live their lives through their phones – adding loyalty and payment mechanisms are just the obvious next steps.
But hold on, aren’t we just swapping the worrying of losing your wallet for another concern – access to your data? Can shops access your private sensitive information from your mobile payment? What if someone stole your phone and went on a mad spending spree across London? It will certainly take time to feel comfortable with this new era of payment, as it did when chip and PIN was introduced. With any new technology, it takes time to adjust and make people feel comfortable with a new way of doing things. Rest assured however, the enhanced security we need to feel safe is coming as the tech giants know they have to make us feel safe in using their products.
Gartner trend reports predict that mobile commerce revenues will grow to half of the US digital commerce revenue by 2017. So there is no doubt in my mind that we are seeing a cultural shift away from cash and towards the brave new world of mobile payments. As Rob Skinner, of PayPal UK, said: “Mobile is the Future of Money”, and we are entering the dawn of the third era: mobile payments.