Thanks to credit and debit cards, we know that you can walk around with no cash in your wallet and still be ready to make a purchase just about anywhere. However, thanks to mobile payments, people are now able to forego cards entirely, at least in the physical sense. There is a monetary revolution occurring, and it’s blossoming from your smartphone.
Mobile payment apps such as Apple Pay and Android Pay are allowing consumers to pay for purchases with just the tap of a phone. In an age where phones are now multi-platform entertainment and information centers in your pocket, it’s only be logical for them to ascend to the role of wallet. Compared with the hassle of keeping track of a bulky physical wallet and all the necessities inside, the convenience of a mobile wallet suggests that we’ll soon see a significant shift away from credit and debit cards. This is especially true thanks to the widespread introduction of EMV chips in cards, which while safer, makes paying with a card a longer and less convenient experience.
It isn’t just tech companies like Apple and Google who are capitalizing on mobile payments. A variety of retailers are setting up proprietary mobile payment systems that could have a profound impact on how they do business. For example, Starbucks has achieved great success with their app, which allows customers to place orders ahead. Additionally, McDonald’s recently announced they would be bringing mobile ordering to their stores as well.
Thanks to social media, the trend of mobile payments might be spreading even faster than before. Perhaps the most-heralded mobile payment app is Venmo, which allows for hassle-free transactions to be made between friends with just a few clicks of a phone. For young people, who frequently use social media, Venmo is a godsend that prevents them from having to make ATM withdrawals in order to pay roommates their share for utility bills, split a restaurant tab, and more. If cash is needed urgently, a debit card might not even be required. Bank of America’s mobile app allows for ATM withdrawals without a card, just the tap of your phone.
Even with all the added security features and assurance from credit card companies, people still have a bit of wariness about the safety of using credit cards. It’s stressful to think about what would happen if your financial security was breached, but anything from a poorly-thought-out PIN to a stolen credit card could compromise it severely. However, mobile payments are moving towards a system of authentication that could greatly eliminate fraudulent purchases. Some of the “smartest” features of your smartphone, like its ability to track your movements via GPS, will be able to help determine if you have rightful ownership of the phone you’re using. For instance, if someone gets ahold of your phone and uses it to make a purchase two hundred miles away from where you live, your smartphone should be able to help stop it.
Amazon has come up with an innovative way to ensure authentication. With their patented idea, shoppers would take a selfie in lieu of a password. To dissuade fears of people stealing your photo to make purchases, Amazon’s system would require shoppers to move in certain ways in order to verify their identities.
The concept of mobile payment, which is slowly building its reputation with the development of apps along with the endorsement of influential retailers, could very well be on its way to a global standardization. Through regulation, there could be a uniformity to mobile payments that make it not just a competitor for cash and credit cards, but perhaps the de facto way we make purchases. You could be visiting countries far from home and not have to worry about exchanging money because the mobile payment system is universal. Just imagine how much stress could be reduced if you could go on long trips without worrying about your credit or debit cards.
While mobile payments have a ways to go before they dominate the financial marketplace, they are rising in prominence. Public awareness is at about 50 percent, and in 2016 about 19 percent of people researched were using mobile payments regularly. However, if more and more people start using mobile payments, whether to pay back friends, order food in advance or buy appliances online, and then familiarity will grow. Plus, if there’s a push towards a global standardization any time soon, we might find ourselves united in an entirely new way. The future of payments might be already within our reach.