Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pew study says mobile payments could kill cash and credit by 2020

Experts believe that mobile payments could eliminate the need for consumers to carry cash and credit cards by the year 2020, according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center.
Sixty-five percent of the technology experts surveyed agree that within the next eight years, most consumers will fully trust and embrace smart devices and mobile wallet services to fund digital and in-store purchases, with cash and credit cards essentially disappearing in advanced nations. Proponents contend that mobile wallets are simpler and more convenient for consumers, consolidating multiple payment options alongside location-specific personal shopper services like deals, product recommendations and loyalty programs.
However, thirty-three percent agreed with the opposite statement, which posits that mobile payments will fail to gain significant traction by 2020, undermined by security concerns and privacy fears. Critics also question whether credit card companies will move away from the current payment processing system and express concern over possible market fragmentation and system interoperability issues.
Pew notes that the survey did not offer a third, middle-ground option between the positive and negative forecasts, but that many respondents believe the true outcome will fall somewhere in between the two scenarios, with m-commerce adoption surging dramatically but resistance still remaining strong in some quarters.
Contenders for mobile payment supremacy include the Near Field Communications-based Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Wallet tap-and-pay application, which enables Android smartphone users to purchase products, redeem coupons and earn rewards points from select retail partners. Isis, a nationwide m-commerce network spearheaded by AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile USA, will begin trials in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, later this year. The Pew study notes that PayPal and Visa have also announced plans for mobile wallet services, adding that many analysts believe Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will unveil its own service in the near future.
Shopping on mobile devices drives close to 5 percent of all digital retail revenues, a rise fueled by Apple's iPad tablet, according to a new study conducted by retail services provider RichRelevance. Nine percent of all digital shopping sessions now take place on mobile phones and tablets, accounting for 4.6 percent of digital retail revenues--up from 1.9 percent in March 2011--RichRelevance reports. iPad owners make up 68 percent of all mobile shoppers and generate 90 percent of m-commerce revenues.

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