The Immediate Future of Mobile Payments

June 1, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

With the year almost half over, it’s worth taking a look at the future of things, because there’s still quite a bit of year left to go.

Recently, TD Bank brought out some fresh perspective on this market at the ETA TRANSACT conference, where it looked at the future of Europay / Mastercard / Visa (EMV) tools, mobile wallet technologies, and even our old friend cash.

Revelations about EMV were troubling; large numbers find EMV slower than normal (62 percent) or less convenient (41 percent), approximately the same numbers find improvement. Fifty percent found EMV transactions less prone to fraud and 45 percent believe that EMV will ultimately be fully adopted by merchants. Even here EMV is at risk, as 36 percent look for EMV to be rendered obsolete eventually.

Meanwhile, 38 percent of respondents expect consumers to switch to mobile wallets between six and 10 years from now, but 27 percent expect that to take up to 20 years. What’s more, 40 percent consider the standard wallet to be more convenient than its mobile equivalent, and 32 percent believe mobile wallets are less secure than the standard. Another 27 percent just doesn’t understand how mobile wallets work.

Finally, cash is living on borrowed time. Fifty-four percent of respondents believe society will ultimately be cashless. Even the earliest adopters—28 percent—expect a cashless society to take a minimum of 11 years, and more like 20 years. Another 23 percent think that it will take over 50 years to get there. Just over one in five—21 percent—thinks a cashless society will be around in the next 20 years.

To sum up, cash is on borrowed time, EMV is wearing out its welcome and may be shown the door, and mobile wallet systems are risky but may gain ground.  Mobile payments are still a comparatively new technology, so some trepidation and confusion about its overall operations is probably to be expected. Still, given how many expect cash to be gone fairly soon, a replacement will have to step up. Right now, it almost looks like mobile payments might be what takes over as EMV proves too cumbersome for its own good.