Monday, November 18, 2013

Mobile Payments Grow

Businessweek reports Gartner numbers showing mobile payments around the world growing by 40% per year (see graphic). Consumers think mobile is coming, but not anytime soon. So what's happening?

One notable success is Starbucks. After three years in the marketplace, Starbucks' mobile payment apps now account for 11% of all in-store transactions in US and Canada Starbucks outlets. Buyers aren't just picking up java--they're also buying music and other non-coffee products. Starbucks is using a rewards system to keep mobile customers motivated to use the app again and again. Although 11% penetration after three years isn't an avalanche of support, it's significant progress.

The much-touted Isis Mobile Wallet has finally launched, a joint venture of AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile. Rewards are also being used to motivate usage: Jamba Juice will have freebie smoothies and My Coke Rewards at vending machines will be linked with Isis.

Google Wallet is pushing its mobile wallet, adding peer-to-peer payments and other functionality to expand usage. Other mobile payment options include apps from Visa and MasterCard.

Coin is taking a different approach: It invites users to load info from multiple credit and debit cards (and gift cards) onto a single card. Paired with an app, the user then selects which card info to use at the point of sale. Intriguing but still in the prototype stage.

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