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Traditional transactions much more prevalent than mobile

Even though mobile payments appear to be the next big trend in customer transactions, it's becoming increasingly apparent business owners shouldn't allow their cash and check scanner to fall by the wayside. In fact, some merchants may want to upgrade their devices with the most up-to-date technology on the market, as mobile payments haven't taken off as expected and still lag behind more traditional payment methods.

At the recent MediaPost OMMA mConference, speaker Ken Moy, a Mastercard executive, pointed out that relatively few purchases are made with smartphones. According to Moy, 85 percent of payments are still made with cash and check, the vast majority of all transactions. This massive gap will require the mobile payment industry to become more innovative and streamline solutions if it ever hopes to catch up to the popularity of hard currency or checks.

Consumer hesitation, plentiful options stall adoption
Even though some consumers are drawn to the idea of leaving their physical wallets at home, there are challenges that keep the industry from taking off as many initially hoped it would. One of the issues is the number of options available to shoppers. With dozens of in-store point-of-sale systems and a plethora of mobile wallet apps, it can be difficult for consumers to find a system they like that is compatible with the mobile payment options local retailers offer.

In a recent interview with Ad Age, Moy stressed public acceptance of mobile wallets will also be a critical factor in the coming years. Many people are too accustomed to the idea of writing a check or reaching into their wallets for cash and are unwilling to adopt a new payment method, sometimes because of hesitation to invest in new technology or uncertainty about security concerns.

On a global scale, mobility will be difficult to adopt. Moy pointed out that different countries have altering definitions of mobile and varying solutions available to consumers and businesses. 

Even though more mobile payment solutions become available frequently, it could be quite a while before they ever challenge the dominance of cash and checks. Because the complexities associated with mobile payment options still need to be worked out and shoppers are still uncertain about completing transactions with this emerging technology, it's possible consumers will never feel quite as comfortable using these solutions as they do using traditional payment methods. As such, business owners will need to continue to upgrade their check scanner and cash counter to accommodate these customers.

August 27, 2013