Friday, October 12, 2012

Bridging The POS GAP - Disruption is Overdue!

By Randy Smith,
October 10, 2012

NFC is the Tortoise and QR/2D bar codes are the Hare, but is there a Cheetah that might chase down the Hare and further stall the Tortoise?
And in the end, who will be the Lion and King of the mobile payments?

In thinking of proper analogies regarding NFC in mobile payments and wallets, an 'Arranged Marriage' is what comes to mind. It best suites the incumbent parties (networks, banks and equipment providers) and leaves the groom (NFC-Wallets) and bride (merchants) hoping it works out well.

Why does NFC suite the incumbents so well? NFC requires a reader in the terminal and is designed work in conjunction with conventional banking and prccessing methods. As Jerry Seinfeld might say "Not that there's anything wrong with this." But as the marriage has been delayed, the bride is becoming restless and questioning if the arranged marriage will be worth it. Retailers, the bride, know what they want (MCX), but remain open to other suitors that are now wooing them away from the marriage with NFC: Pay with Square, LevelUp, PayPal, Apple (? - said no to NFC) and more! With NFC, it takes the phone and terminal to engage and so the retailers are looking at other options to fuel their desire to gain mobile payment engagement.

In relating NFC to mobile payments, the core purpose of mobile payments is enhanced convenience, speed, security and decreased costs for merchants and consumers alike. The NFC and Mobile Payments marriage may end up producing these results, but it sure seems like the marriage is traveling on a rocky road and is still yet a fragmented arrangement. A single standard has yet to emerge and merchants are wary of investing in technology that is not ubiquitous or may be 'Dinosaur Tech' in 6-18 months.

Continue to read the rest of the story.

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