Be the first to like this
A varied group of industry stakeholders gathered in Orlando earlier this month for the first Social: Mobile: Payments Conference. While opinions varied on what technology would ultimately take hold—the cloud, near field communication (NFC), barcodes, carrier billing, etc.—speakers seemed to agree that the time for mobile payments has come. One big problem, however, is market fragmentation and the plethora of new players looking for their share of the revenue in an already-crowded value chain.
“When the music stops, what do you want to be using?” asked David W. Schropfer, head of mobile commerce for the Luciano Group, a product development and advisory firm. “NFC will happen over time—and when it gets here, I think it will win—but in the meantime there’s cloud computing, there’s QR codes.” Ultimately, Schropfer said, any mobile commerce solution “has to reduce costs or drive new sales or it’s not a product that’s going to live. The third rail is security and accuracy—you don’t get a lot of chances to mess up here.” Security problems could set back any business model for years or kill it, he noted.
“If there’s one huge security breach, it could kill the [mobile payments] industry,” agreed Kolja Reiss, managing director of carrier billing company Mopay. “You don’t have a security problem yet because you don’t have adoption,” he said of mobile payments at the POS. “If you have a billion people on your system, it’s very likely that [the threat increases].”
“If there’s one huge security breach, it could kill the [mobile payments] industry.”
—Kolja Reiss, Mopay
As the industry grapples with securing the payments ecosystem as it evolves, another key issue is the “friction in the model,” according to Rich Clow, Citi’s managing director, head of consumer global mobile development. “How do you get banks and carriers and associations together?” he asked. “How do you get consumers to adopt? We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress,” he said, but “we’re not at the end or even at the middle. There’s still a lot ahead of us.”
Clow acknowledged that banks have not been innovating enough as it relates to mobile payments, but he said banks have an important role to play as stewards of the financial system. Creating a great user experience as well as a solution that’s fully compliant must go hand in hand, according to Clow.
“We can’t succeed with a winner-takes-all attitude,” Clow concluded, saying there must be shared risk and reward and collaborative ecosystems.