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Mobile payments gaining major steam among consumers

November 13, 2015

For much of the last few years, the expectation among many experts in the tech industry was that widespread adoption of mobile payments on a regular basis was right around the corner.

For much of the last few years, the expectation among many experts in the tech industry was that widespread adoption of mobile payments on a regular basis was right around the corner. Predictions for when there would be a “tipping point” in the field varied, but new data suggests that it might have already come.

This year, somewhere between 30 million and 60 million people around the world will use their NFC-enabled smartphones to make at least one purchase a month, according to new data from Deloitte. That’s a fairly wide range, but even if the final number comes in at the extreme low end of the estimate, it would represent a 15-fold increase in the number of users seen in 2014, when just 2 million people around the world utilized that payment technology on a regular basis.

“We’ve been gradually prepared over the years to make payments by smartphone,” said Paul Lee, head of global technology, media, and telecommunications research at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. “Once you achieve a surge of usage among a community, you reach a tipping point.”

Why is this happening?
The simple answer for why there has been such a huge jump in global mobile payment usage is creeping ubiquity, the report said. Millions more people have smartphones that can handle a mobile transaction now, and a large and growing number of retailers and other merchants are now giving consumers that option with cutting edge point of sale terminals that are likewise capable of processing such a transaction.

Further, companies are doing a little more these days to push mobile payment platforms as a viable option, the report said. This is done both by highlighting the above-mentioned ubiquity, and by making it just a little easier (and familiar) within the devices themselves to complete such a transaction. For instance, smartphones that allow consumers to unlock them using just a fingerprint have also shown that payments can be set up to be completed in the same manner.

More consumers are getting involved with mobile payments these days.More consumers are getting involved with mobile payments these days.

Still some hurdles to clear?
However, some consumers remain concerned about the security of these payment platforms, even as they have been demonstrated to be far safer than, say, simply swiping a card in a traditional POS terminal, the report said. Experts say that the only real way for average users to get over this, though, is to be enticed to use the platform once or twice, so that they can see how safe and easy it actually is. Lee added that this kind of security may also be good when it comes to convincing retailers to get involved with these payment systems.

However, one of the other big things that is likely to drive use of mobile payment platforms among consumers is familiarity. If they get locked in on using these options at specific early-adopter merchants, others in their field might be left behind, and that could potentially create some issues for them down the road.

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