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Is ‘friction’ the reason for slow mobile payments adoption?

October 15, 2015

There have been many theories advanced in recent years as to why consumers and retailers alike haven't taken to mobile payment processing platforms as a lot of experts might have expected.

There have been many theories advanced in recent years as to why consumers and retailers alike haven’t taken to mobile payment processing platforms as a lot of experts might have expected. And while issues of security and tentativeness are often cited as major problems in this area, some experts simply believe that the companies behind these payment systems haven’t made them easy enough to get involved with.

Indeed, the issues here might simply stem from the lack of available options when it comes to actually using these payment platforms, according to a report from PYMNTS. Speaking at the recent Code/Mobile conference, industry expert Karen Webster said that the companies behind mobile payments technology haven’t given consumers enough of a reason to start using their offerings, even as hundreds of thousands of companies across the country have started accepting at least one mobile purchasing platform.

Why is that the case?
However, the reason for this might simply circle back to the payments infrastructure problems that experts have pointed to as well, the report said. While other nations have been extremely aggressive in adopting the new and more secure payment options, companies and consumers in the U.S. have been far more tentative.

“The U.S. is embarrassingly behind the rest of the world in mobile payments, despite being the largest card market in the world and despite playing around the mobile payments game for a long time,” Webster, the CEO of Market Platform Dynamics, told attendees, according to the site. “Our stubbornness with respect to getting on the stick with NFC technology has held back our progress and we are now in the position of playing catch up. To make matters worse, the payments ecosystem in the U.S. is denying consumers something that they really want. The mobile device is an indispensable part of their lives and using a phone to pay in a store is easier and a feature that they can’t wait to try.”

Consumers may be eager for mobile payments but not have as many outlets as they might want.Consumers may be eager for mobile payments but not have as many outlets as they might want.

What can be done?
However, it’s not entirely clear what companies can do beyond what they’ve already done to get the rate of mobile adoption to considerably increase, the report said. Therefore, it stands to reason that this is something at which the companies behind these platforms will simply have to chip away over time, continually demonstrating to consumers and retailers alike that their offerings are exciting, valuable, and – perhaps most important – safer to use than traditional payment platforms.

That, in turn, should serve to grease the wheels when it comes to increasing the rate of mobile payment adoption, especially as it relates to retailers. A large and growing number of consumers simply have these platforms on their phones at this point, but if merchants aren’t giving them the option to utilize the devices, then they’re simply not going to even be able to see the benefits of the quick and easy transactions these platforms allow.

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