It’s fair to say that finally there’s a consensus — mobile payments in-store has not lived up to its hype. Plastic still reigns as the preferred payments choice for consumers for very simple and basic reasons: it works and it’s accepted everywhere.
This preference, which we’ve been reporting on now for two years via our Apple Pay Adoption Tracker, is one that “the smart money” is now behind as well. At least that’s what Fitch’s Michael Taiano, director of the group focused on the financial industry at Fitch Ratings, says. Plastic, he says, will reign supreme — even among the most stalwart tech — enthusiasts for a very long time.
“This could be a multi-decade change that occurs,” Taiano notes.
Taiano grounds his assertion in the fact that it has taken 20 years for eCommerce to achieve only 8 percent of U.S. retail spending. (Or 10 percent, given some of the anomalies that we’ve pointed out exist in the Census Data which reports online sales.)
Taiano’s report released earlier this week noted that there remain a lot of hurdles between the state of commerce today in the U.S. and the widely predicted mobile payments revolution.
There are lots of options, he notes, but consumers are mostly passing because unless they are inherently thrilled by the idea of using mobile payments, they usually aren’t given much in the way of a further incentive to do so.
The exception to the rule, he notes, is Starbucks, which has a highly successful mobile platform mostly because it wraps loyalty around payment — and more recently has removed the friction associated with standing in line waiting to order.
“Specifically, Starbucks’ mobile payment app adds value to the customer experience by reducing customers’ time spent waiting in line by allowing them to order/pay before entering the store, and also provides electronic storage for the reward points they earn for each purchase. Further, customer usage is encouraged and incentivized by Starbucks and cybersecurity concerns are reduced given the payment app is limited to Starbucks stores.”
Taiano’s report did note that overseas mobile payments in store, online or in some combination may be on more fertile ground, but in the U.S. cards already check the boxes that consumers need checked for their payment method — they are effective, secure and widely accepted.
According to MasterCard, 85 percent of the world’s transactions are made in cash — which means, Taiano notes, there is clearly lots of ground that mobile could be capturing worldwide.
But that capture won’t be quick, according to Fitch — and instead of planning for a big explosive ignition any day now, the new recommendation will perhaps be to settle in for a long and global climb to the day when everyone pays for everything with their phones.
So that’s this week’s grinchery, but the mobile payments “Pay” players were certainly also getting into the spirit of season and trying to push that conversion pace along to a faster than two decade evolution timeline.
And we mean literally getting into the spirit of the season….
Apple Is Giving
Apple announced that it is expanding Apple Pay to allow nonprofit organizations and charities to accept donations via the mobile payments service and Apple Pay on the Web. The change takes effect immediately in the U.S. Previously, charitable donations were barred on Apple Pay due to a lack of safeguards and the ability to validate the legitimacy of charities accepting donations. Charities can now embed donate buttons linked to users’ Apple Pay in their apps. Consumers will be able to use Touch ID to authenticate themselves when making their contributions.
Samsung Is Expanding
Though Samsung Pay is generally limited to Samsung Phone users, those who purchase the Gear 3 smartwatch will reportedly have a chance to tie into Samsung Pay with any Android phone. A Twitter handle for Samsung Pay has been spotted telling users that Samsung Pay is an option as long as said phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat or above. The big rumor of the week is that the Gear 3 will open up Samsung’s MST technology to Gear 3 users — but that has been officially confirmed nowhere.
Walmart Is Seeking Peace On Earth
After the big Chase Pay announcement last week, the rumor mill is now churning on the stories that Walmart is looking to tie in with other mobile wallet players. Which ones and when? No data on that — though the efforts seems to be based on attracting more Millennials and Gen Xers to mobile payments.
And Android Brings Tidings Of Comfort And Joy
Or more accurately a celebration of everyday awkwardness — but through a marketing campaign that Google is undertaking to boost consumers’ awareness of its mobile wallet platform. The moral of the ads: use Android Pay and never have to go digging through your wallet and hold up a line again.