Mobile payments have been a fascination of many forward-thinking companies for a long time, whether it's the financial service providers that create apps that enable these transactions or the end-of-the-line entrepreneurs who simply use them at their businesses. Although 2013 wasn't the year that mobile payments replaced cash and credit cards (that year is far off yet), many industry experts expect 2014 to build on the progress gained in the industry over the course of last year.
"I would say 2013 was the 'year one' of the modern mobile payments era, and so looking ahead to 2014 I am very optimistic," Jason Oxman, CEO at the Electronic Transactions Association, told Mobile Payments Today. "If we look at the $4.6 trillion in payments processed in the U.S. in 2013, most estimates suggest that around $150 billion – a fraction of one percent – were mobile payments. Although some would say that is cause for pessimism, I think we are on the flat part of a hockey stick adoption curve."
Oxman pointed to other digital trends that may have been slow to begin with, but exploded with popularity as time went on. For example, when retailers first began opening online storefronts, they accounted for only a small portion of sales. Nearly two decades later, however, and e-commerce has exploded, generating billions of dollars annually, and has become the preferred way of many people to shop.
Over the next decade, a similar trend may occur in the mobile payments space. More financial services providers will support the transaction type, more companies will create mobile payment apps, more mobile devices will include technology needed to support mobile transactions and more people will begin viewing their smartphones as a means to pay for goods and services.
Offering the mobile payment option
Businesses can jump ahead of the mobile payments trend by integrating a solution such as CaptureCode as soon as possible. At this point, offering mobile payments to customers may not be a necessity, but it can help businesses expedite point-of-sale processes and differentiate them from competitors.
As the mobile wallet continues to grow, more consumers will be using their phones as payment devices – jumping ahead of the curve allows brands to be familiar with the opportunities provided by smartphone-based payments while others are still just getting accustomed to them.
Of course, mobile payments have other key benefits as well. For example, they can be integrated into customer loyalty programs, where shoppers earn points for each purchase. These points can then be redeemed for a variety of perks, from discounts to better service. This is a simple way to bolster consumer engagement and can easily be done with a platform like CaptureCode. Moreover, loyalty programs tied to mobile payments give customers even more reason to use their smartphones as their primary payment devices, which can drive greater use of mobile wallets.