Paysafe Group Offers Comment on NYC’s Mobile Payments Subway Turn

June 4, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Recently, the folks out in New York City took a bold leap forward on the mobile payments front, and it’s one that’s been discussed all over the internet. Specifically, they began to take mobile payments—specifically contactless credit cards—as payment for subway-related services. This was a big move for the city, and it drew commentary from all over. Our friends at the Paysafe Group, meanwhile, dropped word our way about their own assessment, as expressed by its Chief Business Development Officer Daniel Kornitzer.

Kornitzer noted that the US has been something of a laggard in the contactless card space, with just three percent of American consumers using contactless card systems according to a study undertaken by Paysafe Group itself. That compares dismally to the UK’s figures of 54 percent.

What’s more, Kornitzer also noted that the London Underground—the London subway system managed by Transport for London—as well as London overland train system has had contactless card access in place for much of the last half-decade.

Of course, some here would say that we’re talking about two different markets, but Kornitzer came ready for that notion as well. He noted that over 60 percent of small to medium-sized businesses in both the US and Canada are ready to accept near-field communications—the underlying technology behind contactless cards—within two years. They wouldn’t be doing that without some kind of interest ready to go.

Kornitzer sums it all up with this: “Once contactless has fully filtered into the mainstream, however— and the roll-out of contactless on the New York subway is a great example of this starting to happen— we can expect to see the rate of adoption accelerate dramatically, possibly reaching the current European levels and as much as 50 percent of all in-store payments by 2023.”

Strictly speculation, of course, but not without some relevance. After all, we’ve seen there’s at least some interest in the contactless card, and it’s probably closer to what a lot of customers are already used to. Mobile payments tools, after all, are a bit of a change for many customers, and the unfamiliar is commonly not put to use when familiar alternatives are available.

Mobile payments certainly have their place, but while brick-and-mortar stores are in place, other, more familiar options may ultimately carry the day.