Mobile payments have been a hot topic in the tech start-up space for a while now. There have been some great outcomes with companies like Square and Coin taking centre stage amongst a raft of other possibilities. But to be fair, nothing has really hit the ball out the park and transformed the industry just yet. It’s still an opportunity there for the taking.
NFC was touted as being one of the next big steps. At least in terms of the consumer experience. But it requires widespread adoption to become a real success. The fact that Apple didn’t put NFC into the iPhone 5 continues to be a drawback for many ‘fast follower’ innovators waiting to make a decision.
Nice as many of them are, all of these technologies, peripherals, apps and add-on’s are all top tier incremental improvements to an existing market structure. Your bank account, card (or similar), are still at the heart of the transaction process.
Apple have openly commented that they are serious about mobile payments and I for one am hopeful about their potential entry into this space. They have a track record of “integrating the whole widget” into their business process. Which means we would potentially see the first high quality mobile payments service with an end-to-end infrastructure in place. Their whole stack approach to innovation worked well for the music industry.
With all of this going on, it’s surprising there hasn’t been a more robust set of actions taken by the retail banks.