On November 17, 2011, 45 mobile phone carriers around the world committed their product roadmap to using NFC technology for mobile payments. As part of this commitment, the operators would have to abide by a new set of design specifications. If these specifications become commonplace, future mobile phones would automatically have the capacity to make mobile payments, without the need for any third-party software or hardware.
As of today, this is an emerging concept. The mobile payments landscape is a somewhat barren and disjointed affair, at least when it comes to a more widespread acceptance. This is due to two factors, public perception and the lack of brand security. Why would consumers risk identity theft with a provider they are not familiar with? While paying for things with your mobile phone sounds cutting-edge, most consumers would rather stick with more traditional methods when it comes to parting with their money as these tried-and-tested methods of payment are deemed safer.
However, if a major brand immersed themselves in mobile payments, the publics perception would change overnight. This is what is currently happening with PayPal. On November 8, 2011, the company announced they would be releasing a new app which would accept NFC payments on a user’s mobile phone. To make the service work, consumers would have to authorise PayPal to communicate directly with their mobile phones. For many this is not a problem since they have already developed a brand trust and awareness with PayPal.
This level of trust will have a knock-on effect to other app developers. Working with PayPal themselves, or providing their own NFC payments services becomes easier when a major brand is openly accepting a new technology. Of course, like anything else in app development, new players in this market would still have to prove themselves as reputable service providers before people will openly use their service for transactions.
For many consumers, however, there is only so much trust they can garner for an app. Whether it’s from PayPal, or another noteworthy company, they might still wonder if the technology is secure enough. The situation changes if the technology was already implemented into the phone. There has already been news that these payment systems will be considered for future iPhone and iPad development. If this comes to pass, consumers are bound to change their perspective for good.
This applies even more so for iPhone development, as iPhones are more likely to be on one’s person than iPads. While both devices are mobile, iPhones would be used more often due to their size and their capacity to make phone calls. With that said, providers might see more success incorporating payment processing into iPhone development over iPad development. If the iPad becomes smaller and/or it gains the ability to make phone calls, this would probably change, as it would become like any other mobile phone.
In any case, once the concept of mobile payments becomes standard, consumers will realise how convenient and ground-breaking the technology really is. Instead of having to pull out a collection of cards and payment methods, consumers can use one device to pay for their goods and services, make Internet payments without needing a computer and save time.