According to trends revealed in the March/April 2011 issue of MIT’s Technology review, in the US, we haven’t given up on our checks but we are increasingly accessing our card information on mobile devices. Meanwhile, a global review of mobile payments show that emerging markets are ahead of developed markets when it comes to this emerging form of money exchange. The analysis does not indicate whether these payments are coming from simple or smart phones, but they do underscore a certain level of comfort with mobile payments.
These numbers also suggest that Google’s latest partnership with Citibank to offer a mobile wallet app to Citibank Mastercard and Nexus 4S phone customers is on the right track. When the Google wallet app launches, it will let users simply tap their phones on paypass signs and make payments directly from their accounts. They will also have opportunities to redeem coupons and benefit from special offers. Few merchants, including Sports Authority, Container Store, Duane Reade, Walgreens and Macy’s have signed up for the deal. Google is assuring potential early adopters their transactions will be secure.
This is indeed exciting news for those of us with messy bags and multiple gadgets, looking to consolidate everything on a smart phone. But the real opportunity seems to be for those emerging market economies with populations eager to adopt new technologies and need easier ways to access money and make transactions. The next trend to watch is the boost these types of technologies can bring to local economies and help connect publics with merchants in more efficient ways.