I was going to do a quick post on contactless mobile payments, but got quickly overwhelmed. Try this: Enter “contactless mobile payments” into Google News. See? So much activity, and a lot of it conflicting. I mean, here’s Samsung killing Samsung Wallet for lack of consumer uptake but then also jumpstarting a new acquisition under Samsung Pay. Here’s Apple referring to 2015 as the “Year of Apple Pay” based mostly on the number of partnerships they’ve gathered, and yet here’s Goldman Sachs dinging Apple on consumer uptake. And everybody seems to be somewhere in the cycle of buying, developing, and retiring some form of contactless mobile payment systems, from credit card companies to telecoms to banks to technology and software companies.
It took decades for the credit cards to become ubiquitous. And this is probably just that slog again. It does seem like the infrastructure is getting there, especially now that Apple is putting its muscle behind it. That was the biggest hurdle. Next, is convincing the general populace that it’s easier than a small plastic card that never needs charging, doesn’t have data caps, and won’t break when you drop it on McDonald’s tile floor.
But I can also see people saying something similar when comparing cash and credit cards (Cash doesn’t demagnetize, snap in two, or give access to your entire line of credit when stolen).
Although somehow cash is still around, too. I mean, we’re trying to establish contactless mobile payments in a world where the penny still exists. Paying for things is hard.