At a GigaOM mobile conference, Visa, PayPal, Intuit, and Verifone talked about the state of mobile payments.
I personally think the strongest player is Visa. If its mobile payment solution doesn’t catch on, then they can always fall back to its lucrative credit card business. Remember that cash and credit cards still dominate payment options. Mobile payments need to be just as easy as them.
Visa is pushing merchants hard to adopt its mobile payment infrastructure. By 2015, if merchants haven’t upgraded their infrastructure to use Visa’s mobile payments, liability for fraudulent charges will shift from the credit card company to the merchant. How’s that for a little nudge.
PayPal is focused on an end-to-end mobile payment solution. They are doing many acquisitions in this space for mobile and X.Commerce cloud solution. One thing that PayPal kept emphasizing was that they are doing more than just payments whereas some of the panelists were solely focused on payments. It will be a challenge for PayPal and many others to make the transition from online to offline payments especially if they don’t have an offline footprint already. In general, online to offline anything is going to be an exciting space.
Verifone is a huge backer of Google wallet and NFC. In fact, Verifone kept talking about how NFC is going to win out while the other panelists said it’s too early to tell. Just the other day, I shopped at Old Navy to find that the Verifone card swiper indeed took Google wallet.
Intuit is hedging its bets. They are 1) embracing the current mobile payments environment and 2) staying involved with the forefront of change (e.g., NFC). Currently, they are empowering people with credit card readers like Square. I can see the added value of record keeping and analytics that complementary Intuit software can offer above and beyond a lone Square solution.
The world is leading in mobile payments with the US leading in mobile e-commerce. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of years.