At the Mobile World Congress, the latest in mobile technology and strategy was revealed. One interesting trend is the replacement of the cash and credit cards in your pocket with your phone. Imagine that simply being near the person you want to pay would allow you to make a monetary exchange with just a few taps on your phone. According to panelists at SXSW, this reality is only a few years away. In this post we explore the current options in mobile payment technology. So get out your phone and start making those payments
There are 5 different types of mobile payments, according to the following info-graphic:
Status: Most Popular
Perhaps Apple is the catalyst for making this form of payment enter the mainstream. Today you can easily purchase items from directly inside of an app on your phone, making it easier than ever for vendors to easily bill their customers.
Mobile as the Point of Sale
Status: Readily Available
Many companies are now allowing for you to extend your phone with a physical credit card reader, effectively making your phone an efficient money collecting device.
One solution of note is Square. Their solutions cover all of the major credit cards and works on both iOS and Android.
Status: Readily Available
Some companies, like Starbucks, choose to create their own custom applications to accept mobile payments. The downside of this trend is the need to have a different method and procedure for each vendor.
Mobile at the Point of Sale
Status: Yet to achieve mass adoption.
Near Field Communication or (NFC) is the big buzzword acronym for this type of transaction. The idea is to conduct a transaction by having your device near the other device that you wish to perform a transaction with, as seen below.
Although NFC technology has yet to be adopted by the masses, similar RFID technology is already penetrating the mobile payment arena in Europe and Asia, as well as been widely adopted by the United States for government employees to access secure databases and restricted areas via RFID smart cards and smart card readers. It seems to be only a matter of time before technology like this breaks through as a common viable payment method.
The WSJ recently reported that retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target are teaming up with 20 others to develop a new phone-based mobile payment system to compete with those that are already in the market, namely Google Wallet and Isis. And with Visa announcing their solution at the Mobile World Congress, we could be very close to this technology becoming a common reality in our every day lives.
If you would like to explore deeper, we suggest you take a look at the Mobile Payments Wikipedia entry.