As tap-and-go mobile payment capabilities roll out across the world, Australian organisations have been slow to implement the technology in the face of low demand. However, as people grow to understand the benefits of a virtual identity, it’s only a matter of time before sentiments change.
“Mobile payments are the way of the future,” explains Kareem Tawansi from Solentive Technology Group. “Right now, we carry around our keys, wallets and phones, and if you lose your wallet, you can’t back it up. It’s exciting to think we won’t have to carry a wallet around to pay for things!”
The CEO says some people cannot envisage using tap-and-go mobile technology until they actually see other people using it and how it works. In a recent survey, less than 30% of respondents indicated that they intended to use tap-and-go mobile payment capabilities over the next few months.
“Most people don’t understand what the technology can do as it’s new,” Tawansi said. “People are sometimes naturally wary before they become more comfortable with an idea. Once they start to see people using it, they can see its benefits in action and will therefore be more open to adoption.”
Australian financial institutions have already begun to experiment with tap-and-go mobile payments, using near-field communication (NFC) enabled mobile phone cases, and stickers placed on the back of phones. Whilst Australian banks, Westpac and Commonwealth have launched tap-and-go payment capabilities embedded in some modern Android smartphones, other financial institutions have been slow to produce a system based on NFC capability built into handsets.
Despite the slow uptake, tap-and-go smartphone technology is well on its way. Ten years ago, we would not have envisaged that more than half the population would be using smartphones by 2014, 80% of children under 15 would have access to the internet, and that we would simply tap our credit cards on a PayWave system for instant payment at retail outlets. The adoption of tap-and-go mobile payment facilities will be the next phase where NFC will permeate our lives for the better.
Tawansi says now is the time for forward-thinking organisations to invest in a mobile NFC ecosystem. With NFC-enabled watches, wristbands, key rings and fobs now in common use across Europe for contactless payments, there is no reason why it won’t work in Australia. As our identities become virtual rather than physical, the tap-and-go mobile trend will become a normal part of life.