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The battle between mobile payments

April 6, 2012

Every week, developers release new innovations that promise to be the next big thing and further muddle the pool of contenders, making it hard to establish a frontrunner, let alone a winner.

News about mobile payments is huge. Retailers are hearing the buzz, but most have yet to take action. Every week, developers release new innovations that promise to be the next big thing and further muddle the pool of contenders, making it hard to establish a frontrunner, let alone a winner.

There are now four options for mobile payments – devices as a credit card terminal, contactless payments/near field communications technology (NFC), direct carrier billing and online wallets.

Mobile POS systems may be the closest to what consumers are used to. Wireless POS systems have been around for more than 10 years, and it’s predicted that by 2015 they will process almost $670 billion in transactions, according to Voucher Codes. Contactless payments that would allow consumers to pay with their phones are expected to reach $50 billion by 2014 and explode to $320 billion by 2016.

Direct carrier billing has not created as much excitement as other innovations (it basically adds purchases to users’ phone bills) and costs a lot. Carriers would take 40 to 90 percent of every transaction. Online wallets are the last key player and could be most logical transition for shoppers.

According to Voucher Codes, no matter which innovation crosses the finish line, retailers can expect to see a very different credit card terminal in the future. 

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