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NFC-enabled devices will be critical for uptake of mobile payments

October 21, 2011

NEW YORK – A Forrester executive at the Mobile Shopping Fall conference said NFC-enabled devices will be critical for consumers to get used to the idea of having a whole new way of paying for products – even though they did not ask for it.

The “Grasping NFC Technology and Emerging Mobile Payment Methodologies” session addressed the current state of the mobile ecosystem. Additionally, the executive talked about how consumers are recently turning to their mobile devices to complete tasks.

“Consumers have more access points than ever before and demand convenience,” said Patti Freeman Evans, vice president and research director at Forrester, New York. “The customer wants the info they need in each of these different touchpoints when they want it and how they want it.

“If you think of the growth in the next five years, smartphones are clearly growing,” she said. “But don’t forget about the feature phones.”

Emerging tablets
Additionally, Ms. Evans said that tablet devices are emerging in the mobile space.

“Tablets have already passed ereaders,” Ms. Evans said. “The real play is in the tablet space.

“Tablets are more like a replacement for the laptop than a mobile phone,” she said.

According to Ms. Evans, marketers should look at the richness of access that mobile creates, as well as the immediacy of it.

Additionally, the executive said that mobile payments are still in nascent stages globally.

In terms of what will drive the eventual adoption of mobile payments, Ms. Freeman said that it will be ubiquitous mobile phones and connectivity, mass market smartphones, open software platforms and millions of NFC-enabled phones.

Mobile services
According to Ms. Evans, there are many services suited for mobile payments such as micropayments and gift card sales.

For example, remote micropayments consist primarily of mobile digital content, such as ringtones and games.

This is the most mature mobile payments category, per Ms. Evans.

There are also mobile person-to-person payments that are remittances between individuals using preloaded applications, a browser or SMS messages to initiate, authenticate and transfer funds domestically and across borders.

Additionally, there are unattended points of sale. These purchases are initiated using a mobile device at an unattended point of sale such as a vending machine, parking lot or transit ticket gate.

There is also the retail points of sale. These purchases are initiated using the device at a retail point of sale attended by a sales agent.

Finally, there are the gift card sales.

The distribution, sale and redemption of a gift card can be done entirely on a user’s mobile device, which vastly simplifies the process.

“Your mobile device is a personal device, more so than an iPad or iPod touch,” Ms. Evans said. “This is your phone, thus the trust and security issues are more heightened.”

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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