PYMNTS Readers Respond: Will Apple Get Us to Wave At the Point of Sale?

In a recent commentary piece for PYMNTS.com, Market Platform Dynamics CEO Karen Webster argued that NFC will not ignite explosive growth for mobile payments. Even with new developments like Google’s Nexus S phone with NFC or the ISIS mCommerce network from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, Webster writes that merchants will continue to lack enthusiasm until a proposition that wraps value around NFC is really brought to market.

Her opinion piece drew passionate reaction from both NFC diehards and non-believers alike. Feel free to add your response along with the ones from PYMNTS readers we’ve already compiled below.

Related Article: Will Apple Get Us to Wave At the Point of Sale?

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“Karen your comments are “right on!” When I read that same CNN.com article, I thought the same as you… I’ve been in the industry long enough to know that the following quote from the article is just not going to happen: ‘We’re going to start seeing more and more people leaving their homes without their wallets.'” – Ira Goldman

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“Excellent look behind the headlines. You have put your finger on a number of elephants in the room, like merchant adoption, that are being ignored by the big players. We have seen this time and time again—Mondex comes to mind and currently RFID. As for the media, market research companies long ago learned how easy it is to generate publicity by publishing outlandish forecasts that overstate adoption of new technologies, which are then repeated by gullible reporters in the general media who need to write about something new to keep their jobs and then used by eager beavers to convince their management to fund their initiatives.” – Jim Shanahan, President, Maverick Network Solutions

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“Apple has demonstrated time and time again an uncanny ability to tap previously uncalibrated latent consumer preferences, and make a lot of money doing so. But the immutable laws of a successful payment system are a bit more complex and consequential than my Angry Birds app, so it will great to see how, for instance, we’ll be able to ‘un-wave’ that latte purchase if I decide to get a caramel macchiato instead.” – Kim Anderson

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“The key to acceptance is the value add on both sides of the transaction. Apple’s introduction will boost the number of users, but critical mass is still a long way off. The ever expanding capabiliites of smartphones and their ability to become a principal Internet access channel for consumers will drive the migration to smart device NFC.” – Chris Cosgrove

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“Karen, as for your comments, ‘Spot on’! Believe that an NFC revolution is on its way, but there are a growing number of horses that have been admitted to the starting gate, and several more to come, presenting even more innovations that will both help and confuse the growth of mobile purchasing.” – Lisa Stanton

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ISIS is very interesting as they will have access to 200+ million U.S. subscribers, but more importantly, they control the handsets and will control what’s added and downloaded…so jury is still out. I believe Apple, Google and maybe Facebook are the ones which will open the market’s eyes and introduce the solutions which makes NFC disruptive.

So what I am trying to say is, that as an industry, we tend to forget about the most interesting aspect of NFC, which is ‘How millions of NFC handsets will bridge the two worlds of brick-and-mortar and Internet, no more MOTO transactions for payments, new virtual currencies at POS, value added services and just for simply exchanging data, which today may be residing on your virtual social network account’. I have been waiting for this since 2001… :-) “ – Bengt Horsma,

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“You have hit the ‘nail on the head’ in every respect! This is what we have been preaching at iCache for some time now and have now found a ‘Payments Prophet’ in your writings! Thank you so much for bringing logical thought and reason to a complex space. Technology has the potential for so many things but there has to be practicality brought to the usefulness and free market acceptance of technology.

There is a quantum difference between a cool technology looking for a home versus a technology jammed into a very delicate ecosystem. This has the potential to gain a lot of initial press but very low adoption and lifespan. The sad part is that it is a distraction from meaningful change.

As a footnote, I am a huge fan of Apple but their business models are not typically inclusive of others in an meaningful way and always seem to end up in closed-loop systems. The payments space and ecosystem demands are far too complex to be absorbed into what is probably being contemplated as an ‘Apple only’ model where the iTunes store holds card info, the iPhone is used for payment and the is a new ‘iPOS’ terminal deployed (probably using the iPad).

The evolution of the wallet needs to be a true evolution which works with existing POS terminals — you can’t change 13 million of anything overnight! NFC is a revolution and one that will take years upon years to become a reality.” – Jonathan Ramaci

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