Slow Progress Forecast for M-payments Adoption in US

User adoption of technologies such as near field communication (NFC) in the US could encounter slow progress, a panel of mobile wallet (m-wallet) experts at the MobileCon mobile IT conference has predicted.

Widespread adoption is unlikely to happen earlier than 2020, according to Dekkers Davidson, head of mobile commerce of Barclaycard US. He predicted that it would take five to eight years before even one in four Americans were using m-wallet applications, adding that it took eight years to reach a similar level of adoption in Japan.

Davidson and other speakers on a conference panel said that part of blame for the slow adoption lies with US consumers, many of whom are wedded to credit cards. Making the transition to smartphones that are NFC-ready for making payments at an NFC-ready terminal or other technology is simply not a high priority, they said.

“No consumers are really asking for [mobile commerce],” said panel member Ryan Hughes, chief marketing officer for ISIS, a partnership of three wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA. ISIS is deploying NFC payment terminals and related technology for use with NFC phones in Austin and Salt Lake City.

Davidson said his prediction might change if big mobile commerce players such as Google, ISIS or a new merchant customer exchange (MCX) of major national retailers were to have a big impact. Even so, “I don’t see a [m-commerce] winner taking all for a really long time,” he said.

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