Cashless Pioneers: Every Transaction Has a Story
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Making Mobile Mainstream

We’ve been talking about mobile payments a lot lately. Obviously with good reason, given our collaboration with our founding partners on the  Google Wallet. However, the industry seems to be booming lately! Verizon is now working with ISIS and Payfone. Foursquare is testing the ability to ‘check into venues using NFC as opposed to GPS and network connectivity. The industry is ready to break out – and consumers are ready for it. In fact, Juniper Research forecasted that global NFC payment transactions will reach $50 billion worldwide by 2014 – just three short years away.

After reviewing the report, there were two things that we wanted to call out:

  • North America and Western Europe will account for 50% of NFC payments market by value in 2014.
  • Poor user experience is an implementation risk – such as transport gating delays.

The first point isn’t a major surprise. Mobile payments are already being used by “early adopters” and some “early majority” consumers. Whether it’s a sale being finalized by Square or someone using the Starbucks application to buy a latte, the technology is already being used. Now, with major players like Google, Microsoft, RIM and HP announcing plans to build devices with NFC, it’s just a matter of time before North America becomes a leading market in this industry.

However, the second point Juniper makes is very real. Poor user experience could very easily slow down adoption of the technology. That said, it takes years, not days, for mass adoption to occur, as was discussed at the recent ReadWriteWeb 2way conference in New York. The first Blackberry was created more than 10 years ago – and we’re now four years into the  mass adoption of smart phones. Despite mobile payments being worked on for around six years, the industry still has work to do to hone the user experiences as we expect more companies to join us in the industry.  The great news is that by being part of the first commercial deployments in the world we are in a position to capture those learnings first and to enhance our products based on those learnings.

While the user experience is still being developed, the transaction experience is ready. Utilizing MasterCard’s trusted and secure contactless network, PayPass, we’ve already enabled more than 125,000 merchants in the U.S and more than 310,000 globally with a fast and secure network for mobile payments that consumers already trust. We’re excited to watch as more and more consumers take advantage of the cutting-edge mobile technology MasterCard and others offer, helping them tap, pay and save time while shopping.