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NFC and Mass Acceptance
By George L. Koroneos
If you had asked me a year ago if I thought near-field communication technology would take off in the mobile-wallet space, I probably would have said “no” without hesitation. The initial pilots were done by one credit card bank tied to a fairly young mobile OS platform tasked with the weighty challenge of altering the whole paradigm of how consumers pay at retail establishments. Add in the fact that Google is known for dragging half-baked programs through beta forever and you have technology that’s hard to be optimistic about.
Lucky for NFC, I’m not always correct. Turns out that the technology has legs and is slowly making its way into the mainstream. In this month’s cover story, Julie Ritzer Ross cites a ton of analysts who predict that NFC will be a viable option to cash and traditional credit cards within the next few years. At this year’s RSPA RetailNOW, I moderated a panel of technology vendors that spurred a frank conversation between solution providers in the audience and the panel about the future of NFC and payment processing. When queried about the adoption rate of e-wallets and the mainstreaming of NFC, VeriFone’s Erik Vlugt candidly explained that NFC will become commonplace, but he can’t predict whether it would be next year or in the next five years.
Personally, I feel that in order for NFC to receive consumer acceptance, it must be more widely available. Sure, Android has a nice chunk of the cell phone market, but not all Android phones are compatible. The elephant in the room is when is Apple going to include NFC in the iPhone? If the technology makes its way into the lion’s share of smartphones, people are going to take notice. While people might not pay to alter their paying habits, they are way more likely to try something out if it’s included as a value add. Then again, that didn’t work so well for 3D televisions.
Care to share your thoughts about NFC? Shoot me an e-mail at gkoroneos@
edgellmail.com or call me at (973) 607-1382.
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