NFC: much more than pocket money

Last updated: 20 March 2014

Forrester’s Denée Carrington blogged recently about the state of mobile payments in the United States, as the research firm published its US Mobile Payments Forecast, 2013 to 2017. For those looking for a quick summary, Denée outlined the three main takeaways as follows:

  • Mobile payments adoption will be fueled by unprecedented growth in proximity payments
  • Despite growth in P2P payments, mobile remittances will lag behind
  • Consumers adopt mobile payments when it’s clearly better than the next best alternative

Overall, Forrester forecasts that US mobile payments “will reach $90B in 2017, a 48% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from the $12.8B spent in 2012”.

It’s intriguing to note that Forrester believes mobile proximity and in-store payments will drive this growth, something which Mobile Money Revolution’s Tim Green notes “is a brave thing to say, as there are many who believe this sector is overhyped.” The interesting thing is that once people have tried the technology for themselves, as our Contactless Challenge showed, people become incredibly enthused about using the technology and benefit from the convenience it brings.

Pocket walletEconsultancy reported last week that NFC in Australia is to grow 450+%, from 375,000 enabled devices in use in Q1 2012, to 2.1million in Q1 2013. The versatility of NFC technology means that it can be applied to multiple scenarios; be it granting access to your car, swapping business cards at a conference, or finding a clean pair of matching socks.

I believe that as NFC becomes pervasive, so the public’s acceptance and willingness to use the technology will increase. Companies will have to ensure they cater for such demand by providing the appropriate technology and expertise to this growing userbase. As FSTech’s Scott Thompson recently blogged, companies that don’t get contactless could find themselves under the spotlight for offering limited payment options.

As with any new technology, there is always going to be a certain amount of hype. Our Contactless Challenge was designed to give us a view of reality on the streets today. It showed us that there is work to be done, but that the appetite for contactless payments is there, when done well. $90 billion is not pocket-change, but if operators and retailers want their own pockets lined, they need to get on board now.