Mobile Payments – A Glimpse into the Future of Commerce

What does the future of mobile payments hold?


/// Guest post by contributor Parker Burke, Gilbarco Veeder-Root

Initially, “Cellular Phones” were a way to call home from the road.  They were big and bulky, and the reception was unreliable at best.  Now, “Mobile Phones” have revolutionized our daily lives.  They have largely replaced the phones in our homes, our address books, personal PDAs (albeit short-lived), fax machines, gaming devices, and cameras.  In some cases text messaging via mobile phone has replaced phone conversations altogether.  All this from a device that fits in your pocket.  Where else will this revolution go?

How long it will take to get there depends on who you ask, but analysts almost unilaterally believe that mobile phones are poised to revolutionize the way we shop and pay for goods and services.  Large companies from a variety of industries have begun making sizeable investments in the future of payments.  Google, ISIS (a joint venture of Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T), Paypal, and Visa have either released their mobile payments solution (in the case of Google Wallet), or made public announcements identifying the roadmap to a coming product launch (ISISPayPal, and Visa).

The most common solution for mobile payments is a technology called “Near Field Communications” or “NFC”.  This technology allows a consumer to “open” the wallet on their phone to select a payment method (ACH, credit card, debit card, or pre-paid card), their loyalty card, and any available coupons/offers.  Then, the user simply “taps” their phone at the NFC-reader on the point-of-sale or fuel dispenser to send all of their transaction data with one “tap”. 

Truckstop owners are now able to more easily capture loyalty customers and creative marketers will be able to maximize the value of those customers through offer and coupon usage on repeat visits (see what merchants are already saying about Google Wallet).  For example, when used to initiate a fueling transaction, the loyalty and payment information transmitted to the fueling dispenser could use past purchase history to project individually targeted advertisements on the large color screens in the dispenser, while sending corresponding offers and coupons to the customer’s mobile phones, further increasing the likelihood that the advertisements will draw the fueling customer inside for additional spend. 

Mobile commerce is already upon us, with Google having launched on the Sprint network in their pilot cities, PayPal in pilot with Home Depot in 5 home improvement stores, and ISIS set to launch in 2012.   While the technology behind mobile payments continues to evolve, it has become clear that this new technology will impact commerce in ways not seen since the proliferation of credit cards.

{Guest Post} Guest post reposted and modified with permission from C-store Advisor, the blog of NATSO Chairman's Circle member, Gilbarco Veeder-Root, and may not be further reprinted, modified, or otherwise used without the express written permission of Gilbarco Veeder-Root. Gilbarco Veeder-Root, the worldwide technology leader for retail and commercial fueling operations, offers the broadest range of integrated solutions from the forecourt to the convenience store and head office. Gilbarco earns the trust of its customers by providing long-term partnership, uncompromising support and proven reliability. Read the C-store Advisor here.

The opinions and advice given by guest post contributors are not necessarily those of NATSO or Gilbarco Veeder-Root, and are not intended to be legal advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified professional regarding your specific circumstances.

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