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Big Retailers Increasingly Shaping Mobile Payments

April 7, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

There’s no denying that Starbucks has been a major force in mobile payments for some time now.

Other firms like Dunkin’ Donuts and Amazon have likewise had a hand in things, and the fact that these major companies are turning to mobile payments is having an unusual effect on the overall landscape.

As these firms exert their influence, they indirectly shape mobile payment design and operations to their own ends.

Many of the major mobile payment developments in recent years have come from these larger chain businesses; order-ahead functionality, for example, got something like a start from Starbucks, and ever since, we’ve seen major chains adopting this functionality to their own operations.

Starbucks even recently went so far as to devote an entire store to mobile ordering, and there are some signs that further mobile-only stores may follow.

At the same time, some independent mobile payment systems seem to have developed new features with the busy chain location in mind; Samsung Pay, for example, turned to near field communications early on to allow customers to pay by essentially tapping a device around a payment terminal.

Amazon added Amazon Cash to its roster, allowing users to basically build cash on an Amazon.com balance and then use that balance not to buy things on Amazon, but at other stores.

We know that consumers want convenience, and mobile payments certainly represents a major advance in convenience. Issues of security often still hold customers back, and that’s a point that’s being aggressively worked on as well.

Yet we see increasing amounts of innovation in the mobile payments space, coming as a result of changes from major retailers. Advances and innovations are great, but when so many of these are coming as the result of initiatives from major corporations, it’s enough to make one wonder if maybe the little guys should be getting more involved.

Still, advances are advances, and mobile payments could be a very big development going forward. It’s odd to see how much of these advances are focused on major companies, but it’s entirely possible that the little guy could benefit just as much as the major operation.