At FTC Event, Key Figures Debate Future of Mobile Payments

Competition, convenience, security and regulation were all key discussion points at the Federal Trade Commission’s recent event, “Paper, Plastic… or Mobile? An FTC Workshop on Mobile Payments.” Experts from all sides of the industry contributed comments as to how the future of the space ought to look.

LevelUp CEO Seth Priebatsch used his comments to entreat regulators to give innovators in the space an opportunity to try new things. “Take extra caution to ensure that this space remains open and competitive,”  Priebatsch wrote, calling payment incumbents “as powerful in this industry as any modern-day example that could be imagined” in terms of their influence over the future of the competitive landscape.

Priebatsch also argued that it’s not just the little guy that’s being impacted by the competitive interests of larger players. “Verizon has blocked Google Wallet, and Google is no small player,” he wrote. “If competition is squashed before it starts, well, it won’t be the end of the world, but it will be a lost opportunity.”

Comments from VeriFone Chief Financial Officer Robert Dykes were more consumer-focused. Balancing conveneince and privacy; encouraging continued mobile adoption; and evaluating the proper role of government in consumer protection were the key topics identified by the company. “Despite the continued growth within the mobile payments market,” Dykes noted, “there continue to be barriers to adoption that center on consumer convenience and data security concerns.”

 More comments, an agenda for the event, and a full webcast of the proceedings are all available at the FTC’s website.

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