I was talking this morning with 24/7 Card CMO Gordon Ho about mobile payment systems before the LAVA breakfast event – PR for Start-ups. He was talking about his companies debit and remit business for those needing to send money overseas or to Mexico, Central America or points south. He was telling us about the loose network of money handlers in foreign countries that handle remittance. It isn’t just Western Union and AmEX but pawn shops, markets, bodegas and other places cash transactions occur.
We know that electronic payments or digital wallets or mobile payment systems are in the near future and with Near Field Communications – in close proximity. And we know the behemoths of the credit/debit cards will be there – VISA, Mastercard, Discover and their banks – BofA, Chase, Citi, etc. will all be playing. Google, MS, Intuit, Sage, Apple will have influence over the devices and interfaces. Your phone carrier will play a significant role and even offer their own home-grown variety of service like Buyster – recently introduced by French wireless companies.
And we are seeing a variety of research reports on the rapid growth of retail Point of Sales systems and new applications being implemented by retailers. 60% of retailers surveyed by Heavy Reading are planning on upgrading their systems. Within a few years, mobile retail payments will approach $1T per year up from $60B today.
Mobile retail and payments vendors are developing and introducing new solutions at an impressive pace because retailers and consumers show interest in the technology. Retailers recognize the consumer convenience factor, with customers able to research and compare prices while in the store, as well as make quick, secure payments. They are also eager to gain greater insight into customers’ spending habits to better stock merchandise and stay competitive.
And the PR for Start-ups panel was excellent.