If you want to know what the future holds for mobile payments, think “wearable payments technologies,” Brian Scott, vice president for The Members Group (TMG), told attendees at The Money Event in Las Vegas last week.
But regardless of how the mobile payments scene shakes out, Scott says there are four essential qualities of a desirable mobile payment application:
• Ubiquitous. Consumers will adopt mobile pay tools that allow them to pay anyone or any merchant regardless of the device.
• Easy. Only if an application is easier than swiping a card or scanning a barcode can a solution truly deliver value.
• Rewarding. If consumers don’t get “something else” out of it, they’ll have a hard time abandoning their traditional rewards cards.
• Secure. With payment data in high black-market demand, consumers are nervous about moving money through any application they don’t trust.
“Security has become table stakes for any new technology that deals in personal or financial data,” Scott says. “Consumers are becoming increasingly leery of sharing their information, financial or otherwise.”
TMG recently developed a wearable payment application for Google Glass. Called See2Pay, the app lets consumers make small-dollar purchases at the point-of-sale with a swipe of the touch pad on the eyewear frames.
The role of near-field communication (NFC) and tokenization in the development of wearables was a big topic of discussion during The Money Event. Scott sees NFC and tokenization as two of the key drivers of mobile pay technology.
Also bandied about was the value of mobile couponing. Scott says this is one more value point pay technology providers will turn to for working in the consumer incentive piece.
“It’s difficult to convince any new user group to try something for the first time,” Scott says. “Providers must be intentional about encouraging that first experience. Of course, they also need to have that experience nailed down so repeat use isn’t an uphill battle.”