Contactless Cards Paving the way for Mobile Payments

mobile payment
Image: Monty Metzger / Flickr
Contactless payments are finally beginning to catch on with both the retailers and the general public. The two main players responsible for pushing this technology forward are Visa and MasterCard. Both of these card issuers have in the last few years introduced cards which allow shoppers to pay for goods (in the UK transactions below £10) by simply tapping their cards on a special reader in shops.

MasterCard’s PayPass and Visa’s PayWave are now used by millions of consumers around the world, including here in the UK and thus far the feedback from those has been generally very good.

According to a survey conducted recently by Visa some 73% of those who have used their PayWave cards in the UK think that this form of payment will in future be more common than cash. MasterCard have also recently announced that among their US customers the usage of contactless payments has gone up by 30%.

Most importantly those who do use their contactless cards think that this technology will pave way for the adoption of a similar solution for mobile payments. As shoppers get used to simply tapping their cards on readers in shops rather than carrying cash, many may see it as a natural progression to use their mobiles in the same way.

The lessons both of these card issuers have learned from their respective contactless programmes will help not just them but any other company and organisation which decides to offer such payments through mobiles. This includes Apple, Google and mobile operators (O2, Orange, etc.) who are also working on and slowly introducing mobile payment solutions.

Obviously both Visa and MasterCard can say that they have the hands on experience and the trust of consumers and are therefore in a stronger position. But this does not necessarily exclude other players from competing with them. There are payment processors which have wealth of experience in developing new and innovative methods of payment. They will certainly not sit back and watch this market develop, but will surely take an active part.

According to MasterCard the UK is one of countries best prepared for a wide adoption of mobile payments, including contactless. PayPass and PayWave certainly deserve to take a lot of credit for that but whether they take this dominance into mobile payments remains to be seen.