The future of payments may be controlled by quick response (QR) codes.
When I was a kid, I used to wear watch to see what’s the time. Then I got my first cel phone (Nokia!) and I didn’t feel the need to carry a watch anymore, since I could see the time from my phone that I carried with me everywhere. Today there are over 6 billion mobile users in the world. I wonder how many wallet users are there.
The technology is not anything new, as you might remember for example The Coin’s initiative. But now the smartphone giants, such as Samsung and Apple are catering to the advent of mobile payments by (reportedly) partnering with credit card companies, such as Visa, American Express, and Mastercard. Though, they are yet to confirm anything official. Seems like the mobile technology is gearing towards a cashless society.
Let me introduce four major models for mobile payments:
- The Premium transactional SMS payments. Their advantage is that since the transaction is carried through SMS (e.g. instead of an app), they work also with the more modest cel phones. (Yes, you can start using your good old Nokia’s again that you can run over a truck with without scattering them!)
- The second one is mobile billing, which is already getting very popular in some parts of Asia.
- Mobile web payments that include the online wallets, such as PayPal, Amazon Payments and Google Checkout.
- Lastly, we have the Near Field Communication (NFC) solutions that are suitable to, for example retail store checkouts.
Mobile payment is convenient for consumers. By providing mobile payment solutions, the merchants can, not only serve their customers better, but translate the new technology to a higher value for themselves: A mobile payment through NFC can significantly reduce the checkout time for the consumers, as they don’t have to stand in line for the register. Correspondingly, when the consumers embrace the self-checkout, the need of human resources at the cashiers could be significantly reduced. The question is, what happens to the retail employment when the mobile payment is reality?