Emerging Payments

Mobile Payments: Much Hyped But Not Ready for Prime Time

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Mobile banking is the wave of the future. It's also the future of everything from Google's Wallet to Jack Dorsey's Square to eBay's PayPal. How long mobile payments will remain largely a technology of the future — and how quickly they'll become part-and-parcel of the here-and-now — depends largely on how quickly consumers make them their own.

The good news: The masses are pretty familiar with mobile banking itself. With the majority of adults packing iPhones, Android handsets and other smart mobile devices, they're also already equipped to become mobile banking customers.

The big challenge for banks, merchants and payments processors is to make the masses comfortable with less familiar technologies, like remote check deposit, pay by phone and the NFC chips (that's near-field communication) central to wireless tap-and-pay systems.

Doing that means making it easy and glitch-free to pay by phone. On that score, staffers at American Banker and PaymentsSource put on their regular-consumers hats and came away convinced that the industry has considerable work ahead of it.

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