Wireless Payments May Be The Future, But 'Chip And PIN' Is Ready Now

by Joseph Walent 0

The burn of excitement around mobility payment schemes continues to generate enough smoke that even the most level-headed payments industry analysts can lose sight of the vital issues at hand, namely fraud. While much is made of the fraud mitigation aspects of NFC and biometrics that are and will be employed when making mobile payments, there remain some critical issues the author reminds us to the keep in the forefront in clear view.

Financial institutions have insisted that mobile pay is inevitable, which may be true one day, but the payment ecosystem must reflect the population’s current needs and concerns in the meantime. According to a Pew Research report last year, only 64% of Americans own a smartphone. Nearly half, 48%, of smartphone users say they have had to turn off their cell phone service for a period of time due to financial constraints. What then? Are we supposed to ignore the payment safety considerations for a large share of the public who does not have a smartphone or loses their wireless service? Are they just out of luck?

Focusing solely on mobile payment systems would not only be irresponsible but certainly would discriminate against those who may not want to or be able to afford to use smartphones to make the everyday purchases they depend on.

In advocating for existing for greater education and rollout of existing technology, the author encourages the payment industry to gain some near-term focus on the issue that is in many ways and elephant in the room, fraud. And, in encouraging the wider use and acceptance of the ‘Chip And Pin’, the idea of ensuring that the economic divide is not exacerbated with cavalier thinking regarding constant accessibility of wireless service due to economic pressures.

Ensuring that all have access a viable alternative to mobile payment schemes as they are being designed presently dependent on wireless connectivity needs to be a guiding principle as we map out our path to next generation payment methods.

Overview by Joseph Walent, Senior Analyst, Emerging Technology Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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