Mobile Payment are in a bubble in the US. Geographically, that is. Blue states are typically the most common mobile payment (and technology) consumer friendly locations. Red states are typically reliant on plastic and more importantly cash (less technology) to make a payment. This technology adoption follows the 2016 US Presidential election voting trends.
With the result of the Election and the Republican party winning an election fought on miss-information and half-truths, its interesting to reflect on how the next four years will impact technology innovations and Mobile Payments.
The campaign was won partially on the promise of bringing back jobs in the industrial sector and others that are being taken over by technology. A comparison in the mobile payments industry, is like promising new building for banks branches in the US because it will provide more jobs, even though most Americans are performing their banking activities online.
Can this rebuff of technology and progress in the real world also happen in the mobile payments ecosystem?
The growth of mobile payments can only be successful if it covers the nation and we get more and more customers to change their consumer behavior to scan their phone at the terminal, rather than swiping a card (or even carrying cash).
The result of the election has clearly shown that technology advancement and innovation doesn’t always move as fast we think and many members of the community often perceive technology advancements threats.
So, how does the Mobile Payments Industry prevent technology moving too fast and leaving 51% of America behind, while maintaining a steady growth pattern of consumer adoption and technology improvement in the near and short term.
Is there already an inbuilt emergency brake? In the shape of the Chip & Signature process? I heard a statistic the other day, that it takes 38 seconds to complete a EMV transaction request on a terminal. That is indeed not a technology improvement. In Europe, it a sub 10 second process to complete the cycle. Its interesting to look at other markets around the world. In Europe, The Netherlands and Sweden are much smaller countries but have diverse demographics in cities’ and in rural areas but are moving faster towards a cashless environment than anyone else and have done it within a very short time.
Mobile Payments is totally the future of payments for many Americans living in progressive cities but its going to take much longer to cover the entire United States. The US smart phone coverage is a pretty good indicator of this, we saw over the last 10 years’ smart phone coverage has expanded to all corners of the US, even if the model of the phone are several years behind.
It’s a pretty good bet the mobile payments will be the most popular way of paying in the future, but for now there is still a part of American society that want to walk slowly into the future and use the traditional cash or credit card payment option, which are perfectly fine. However, unfortunately they’ll have to figure out mobile payments, because it maybe the only way to pay in 5 to 10 years’ time and banks and technology merge closer together.