Spearheaded by Google Wallet, Visa's V.me, and Verizon, 2012 looks to be a big year for mobile commerce. Using your smartphone to make purchases will not attract most Americans this year, but a growing part of the population will love the convenience of not having to find an ATM or not paying fees to use another bank system’s ATM. You can delay the day our society becomes a cashless one, but eventually going cash free will be mainstream by the end of the decade.Last month, the Wall St. Journal article validated our prediction in an article entitled, "Retailers Join Payment Chase; Two Words: Digital Wallet—Wal-Mart and Target Join Project Aiming to Make Plastic." The big issues for adoption by retailers are potential security and privacy issues.
Yesterday, the New York Times validated our prediction, too, in an article entitled, "Many Competing Paths on the Road to the Phone Wallet." According to the Times, "The idea of using a smartphone as a wallet has been slow to catch on in the United States," and that "a big part of the problem has been that most stores do not have the proper physical equipment to allow customers to pay by tapping their phone."
That will change, the Times noted, due to "heavy pressure to upgrade their payment terminals to accept smart cards. Over the past few months, Visa, Discover and MasterCard have said that merchants that cannot accept these cards will be liable for any losses owing to fraud."
Check out the rest of the article for more details. But what that means is that the adoption trend for mobile payments will increase significantly. Some analysts and industry players believe that mobile payments -- powered by near-field communications (a technology standard to connect devices like smartphones by bringing them into close proximity with other devices) -- will be mainstream in five years.
That's five years ahead of our prediction, but that's okay with us.