By: Dan Wittmers
Mobile payments have recently been a huge topic of conversation, but we really haven’t had any luck declaring a true leader of the pack. Worldwide mobile payment transactions are estimated to total $171.5 billion in 2012; a 62% increase from last year’s $105.9 billion, and could reach $617 billion by 2016, according to research firm Gartner. There’s no doubt that mobile payments are a positive innovation for big chains and local vendors alike. It has also been a huge success with the self-employed, who make their money off fairs, farmers markets or trade shows.
One of the biggest draws for retailers has been the ability to break free from expensive POS systems and card readers that require heavy upfront investments and long term maintenance fees. In February, about half the retailers polled by the National Retail Federation said they will use a mobile device as a cash register within a year to 18 months, compared to the less than 10% that use them now. On the other side of the coin, retailers have also struggled to discover solutions they can implement without too heavy of a cost to their operations or the need to overhaul existing payment systems.
However, it looks as though a saving grace may indeed be on its way!
A newly joined group known as the Mobile Payments Committee hopes to alleviate some of the confusion for consumers and retailers alike. In a recent interview with VentureBeat, Electronic Transactions Association CEO, Jason Oxman announced the formation of the group; which includes all four major US carriers — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon — among its membership.
This marks the first time we’ve really seen the “Big Four” come together to tackle an issue as big as this, but the carriers aren’t the only powerhouses on board. Other committee members also include: Google, ISIS, PayPal, Verifone, and Intuit.
Jackie Moran, Executive Director of Federal Relations for Verizon, has been selected to chair the committee, which will cover issues like interoperability, lawmaking, and assisting with barriers to consumer adoption.
Oxman went on in his interview with VentureBeat to say,
“The idea behind the committee is to get all the players around the table, ask everyone to take off their company hats and put on their industry hats, and talk about what issues need to be resolved.”
One of the most important players in the game, however, seems to be absent from the line-up of committee members. On the heals of a huge announcement regarding a newly inked deal with Starbucks, mobile payments giant Square is nowhere to be found. Yesterday’s deal gives Square a huge leg up on the competition by instantly putting them into a network of 7,000 participating Starbucks locations nationwide.
If we were to say there was a definitive leader in the mobile payments ecosystem right now, I’m confident there aren’t many that would place themselves ahead of Square. The company’s growth has exceeded even its own internal estimates, with over 2 million merchants and approximately $6 billion in transactions processed since the company’s 2010 inception. It would be an absolute shame if they were not represented on the committee.
Source: The Verge
Dan Wittmers is the Founder & CEO of the Mobile Leaders Alliance. He has a natural understanding of the entire mobile ecosystem, and during his tenure, has had the opportunity to work with Fortune 500 brands and agencies across North America. Educated in media, messaging, development, SaaS tools and predictive analytics, he is an emerging thought leader in the mobile industry.