Signs That Mobile Payments Have Only Just Gotten Started

By now most regular mobile phone users are used to the idea that their phones can handle certain types of financial transactions. From paying for a coffee, to transferring money to a friend, to depositing a check with a bank, our phones already seem to be able to do it all. And yet, there are some signs that we’ve really only just gotten started in the era of mobile payment and phone-related financial handling. Consider the following. 

The Performance Of The Starbucks App 

Boiling things down to the app of a single company may seem somewhat limiting, but the performance of the Starbucks app is extraordinary in a way that could speak to the potential of this entire market. According to this report from last May, this single-store app has done more transactions than the entirety of Apple Pay. While that could be read as an indictment of Apple Pay’s utility, it likely speaks more to the fact that when digital payments are made convenient, people embrace them. Should more high-volume retail stores simply get more comfortable with mobile payments, or potentially offer services in an app that could work like the Starbucks app but encapsulate multiple stores, we could see mobile payments take off in a way we haven’t just yet. 

POS For Crypto 

There is a fair amount of commentary out there about the fact that most people aren’t comfortable using cryptocurrency for in-person transactions yet. It’s likely more accurate, however, to say that people simply don’t know how to use cryptocurrency this way, or else do know but find it unnecessarily complicated. This could change quite quickly if a point-of-sale device for crypto became widely available to retail stores. If it were made as simple as, say, using the Starbucks app – which should in theory be quite possible for cryptocurrency – we could see a spike in this area as well. 

Pay-by-Bill Revival 

It’s almost hard to remember, but in the years just before the emergence of smartphones, we could buy certain things with our phones and simply expect them to show up on bills. This might have meant a ringtone, a song, or even a game, but whatever the specifics, the cost was essentially put on a tab. Slowly, this concept may be returning in the smartphone era, beginning in gaming. This page details how online casinos in particular are pioneering a pay-by-bill style that allows people to deposit money and play games without having to record any personal payment information, which people are reluctant to do. It’s conceivable for a similar style of payment to spread to other areas as well, and would be easy to operate through smartphones. 

Bank & Processor Blending 

There are arguments being made that PayPal, as well as other services like Square Cash, might be on the verge of becoming primary financial institutions for users. That is meant to suggest that they can replace banks, for the most part. At the same time as these companies are getting more into providing banking services, however, banking apps are starting to approximate PayPal and Square capabilities as well. We can’t say which side will win, so to speak, but the end result should be that banking, payments, and payment processors ultimately blend together. We may in fact have simple apps in the near future that handle virtually every aspect of our finances – including making in-person payments through an Apple Pay- or Starbucks-like feature.

Author: Yash Hirani

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