In order for mobile payments to be successful, there has to be a sustained effort to communicate the worth and educate both the consumer and the merchant.
Businesses benefit from mobile payments because not only does it cut processing fees and lower fraud, but with a mobile wallet, merchants can offer coupons, discounts, and cater the shopping experience to the individual consumer. This concierge-style service can drive customer traffic and boost sales. Cutting costs and increased growth are enhancements to the bottom line that no business should ever decline.
When Apple launched Apple Pay back in September 2014, the mobile payments industry received a massive jolt of adrenaline. Within three days, the new platform received one million new activations. The Apple Pay launch in China in 2016 hit three million activations in three days and these numbers don’t encapsulate the growth of competing services like Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, and others. Mobile payments are definitely the future, as even banks are playing catch-up.
Still, as rosy as this future will be, there are also present realities that need to be acknowledged. Mobile payments are an emerging technology, which means they’re running right into adoption difficulty. They are challenging head-on the centuries-old habits of cash and credit. Cash and credit can be used virtually everywhere, while Apple Pay, as an example, can be used at about two million locations in the United States. Even at these locations, usage is relatively low.
These are nothing more than growing pains. True, there’s a learning curve behind mobile payments, one that requires businesses to see its value and make it a necessity and for consumers to create that need and rethink the way they pay. But when even banks, cautious adopters of innovations at best, have begun to tackle the space, it’s clear the learning curve, inherent with change, is not the intimidating behemoth it usually appears to be.
Also, in order to benefit from mobile payments, businesses must enable customers to use their mobile payment tool of choice reliably, consistently, and easily. They need to train their employees to handle the new payment platform and provide the equipment to process it. Once a consumer becomes accustomed to this behavior and sees the advantages, their spending habits will change. They will continue to use the new technology until its very use becomes ubiquitous. Once that happens, you let the momentum carry the technology.
Toffer Grant is CEO and Founder of PEX.