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What does 2016 look like for mobile payments?

November 18, 2015

For much of the last few years, tech experts have been saying that there would, at some time, be a "tipping point" when mobile payments became ubiquitous.

For much of the last few years, tech experts have been saying that there would, at some time, be a “tipping point” when mobile payments became ubiquitous. While there are still several weeks left in 2015, it now seems clear that this won’t be the year, but many seem to believe that 2016 is a very likely candidate. There is so much momentum built up in a number of industries that now support such technology that it really does just seem to be a matter of time.

There are an increasing number of devices capable of becoming “mobile wallets,” and more businesses in a number of sectors that can accept them with little to no issues. according to a report from PYMNTS. That’s something many experts have cited as causing significant friction in the adoption process, and it’s often a hurdle that would create disinterest in many consumers; put simply, even if they were enthusiastic about using mobile wallets to make a purchase (which even now is not always a given), there probably weren’t going to be many options available to them to actually use the platforms in their everyday lives.

Mobile payments are the wave of the future, but the future isn't here yet.Mobile payments are the wave of the future, but the future isn’t here yet.

What’s changing?
In addition to more smartphones with mobile payment technologies being rolled out, businesses in many different sectors now accept them, the report said. It used to be simply that retailers were on the forefront of this new technology, but now places like gas stations and even public transportation authorities are making mobile payments easier to complete. But beyond that, exercise technology and even “smart” TVs can now communicate with the near-field communication chips in smartphones as well, giving consumers even more incentive to use the devices.

However, experts like Erdal Yazmaci, the general manager for a mobile payments firm in Turkey, told the site that 2016 might not be the year in which there’s a major push among consumers to start using mobile platforms en masse, the report said. However, that “tipping point” so many experts in the field have talked about for years could potentially arrive at some point later in the year.

“In 2016, the companies like Apple, Google and others will push this technology more and more to go into our life,” he told the site. “As there are lots of players pushing at the same time, I think they will achieve. Most of us will start using mobile payment technologies – not only for the payment in the retailers, but in more complex environments like public transportation, gas stations, etc.”

Problems still remain
The fact of the matter, though, is that there still aren’t enough stores that accept these transactions, and not enough people have NFC-enabled devices to make use of these platforms ubiquitous. However, as long as companies continue to create options for consumers, that high level of widespread adoption is going to come sooner than later. And when it does, businesses that have not yet gotten on board with them are likely to be left behind.

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