As Mercator Advisory Group has explained in previous research, the road to mobile payments adoption has been full of dead-ends, detours, and wrong turns. Payments-industry incumbents have, for the most part, patiently waited for mobile payment technologies to mature and have refrained from thrusting new processes onto their cardholders. Several startups as well as established firms outside of the financial services industry interpreted such patience as an opportunity to go to market with enhanced mobile offerings that could disrupt the traditional payments industry value chain.
Instead of waiting for contactless acceptance to develop, payments upstarts such as Isis and Google raced to market with early-stage products, recruiting merchants as they continued to develop their solutions. The problem, as many users and providers of mobile wallets can attest, is that the convenience of the magnetic stripe (its ease of use, speed, reliability, and more) is hard to beat.
We will have to wait for Apple’s media event on September 9 to find out how the company plans to leverage, if at all, iBeacons, TouchID, Passbook, and its credit card accounts on file to deliver payment services. But reports that Apple will also announce partnerships with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, if true, will lend credibility to any product the company releases.