It seems like your smartphone can do everything these days, and now it’s even capable of wireless payment. Traditional wallets could end up joining watches, maps and cameras as items made redundant by the ever-expanding functionalities of smartphones.
The trend of mobile payments began to catch on in 2015 and it’s predicted that 2016 will be the year it’s really embraced and more widely adopted. So to keep you up to speed, here are 10 things to know before you jump headfirst into the world of mobile wireless payment systems.
What is it?
This seems like a good place to start. Put simply, a mobile wireless payment system is a way to process payments using your smartphone, negating the need for those credit and debit cards stuffing the slots in your wallet. To use it, you just need to hold your phone up to be scanned at a reader, the same way you’d use PayPass.
NFC makes it possible
Near-field communication (NFC) is the way your phone shares payment information with these readers. This is the same technology that has let users of phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 wirelessly share data by bringing their phones into close contact.
They won’t work everywhere
The only problem with hopping straight on the mobile payment system bandwagon is that not all outlets have the technology available. This makes leaving your actual wallet at home a bit of a risk.
As we just mentioned, not all retailers currently have the technology in place and until they can be sure a majority of shoppers will be using the payment system, companies might be hesitant to go out of their way to adopt procedures that have little benefit for them.
Companies that do decide to integrate a mobile wireless payment system scheme make it easier for customers to take advantage of loyalty rewards programs. This benefits all parties involved, as customers might be more inclined to visit repeatedly knowing they don’t have to worry about toting around a card that needs to be punched, scanned or stamped.
There’s no foolproof way to ensure the safety of your money when it comes to non-cash transactions. Skimming credit and debit card information has become uncomfortably commonplace in this digital age, with account details being stolen from seemingly everywhere. Because of their digital nature, mobile wireless payment systems of any type may be vulnerable to cyber-attacks, in the same way your credit card is.
Sharing your information for better or worse
Mobile wireless payment systems can also allow your information to be shared in a less insidious manner. Your phone holds demographic data that can help retailers stock their shelves with your favourite goods.
Electronic payments can also provide easier tracking in terms of what is sold and when. This could potentially help companies tailor their business to the needs of their customers. But sharing information like this doesn’t always sit well with consumers.
As with most facets of smartphones, some mobile wireless payment systems have features that might accommodate certain users better. Just like you would when making app or handset selections, make sure to do your research to see which option best fits your situation.
The impact of the big boys
Like it or not, the tech giants from Cupertino have a massive say in the technology market. With the unveiling of its Apple Pay system on the iPhone 6, the company is once again flexing its muscles. The same goes for Google and its Android Pay system.
While these products might be unavailable or unattractive options for you, you can be sure that they will have great influence over future versions of mobile wireless payment systems.
Despite some of the drawbacks, a mobile wireless payment system can be of huge benefit for users. It frees up your pockets and purse from carting around as much gear and gives you one less thing to worry about losing. With impending improvements to the technology, it’s only a matter of time before more retailers decide to get with the wireless program.
Will you be a supporter of mobile payment technology? Let us know in the comments below.