Mobile Commerce

Why Mobile Payments Haven’t Taken Off: MPD CEO Karen Webster Weighs In

MPD CEO Karen Webster recently spoke at the Code/Mobile conference in California and gave her thoughts on why mobile payments haven’t caught on with consumers.

In summary, Webster points to the fact that there hasn’t been a strong use case for consumers to ditch their wallets for mobile phones. Instead, consumers care more about getting the best deal and less about how they are paying for those purchases.

“The U.S. is embarrassingly behind the rest of the world in mobile payments, despite being the largest card market in the world and despite playing around the mobile payments game for a long time. Our stubbornness with respect to getting on the stick with NFC technology has held back our progress and we are now in the position of playing catch up,” Webster noted in her speech.

“To make matters worse, the payments ecosystem in the U.S. is denying consumers something that they really want. The mobile device is an indispensable part of their lives and using a phone to pay in a store is easier and a feature that they can’t wait to try.”

Comparing the U.S. mobile payments lag to Japan, Korea, China and the U.K., Webster speaks about what’s needed to flip the switch on mobile payments adoption in the U.S. Progress has been made, she said, but consumers don’t seem to be ready to buy in just yet.

“When we’ve eliminated friction and made things easier for consumers and merchants to transact — as we have done in-app and in the browser with one click and buy buttons — consumers respond. Because in the end, it is the consumer who will decide how mobile payments happens and by default who in the mobile and payments ecosystem succeeds,” Webster said.

“Deciding what’s next for mobile payments shouldn’t be based on what others might have done – or as we’ve seen haven’t really delivered yet – but what will delight the consumer, strengthen their relationship with the merchant and drive demonstrable value to both parties,” she continued.

“And that, should be our starting point for innovation and inspiration,” Webster concluded.

To check out what else is HOT in the world of payments, click here.




The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.