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OPLIN 4Cast #279: Mobile money

Posted in 4cast

It’s been more than a year since we took a look at the technologies behind making payments (such as library fines?) from mobile phones. Meanwhile, Near Field Communication (NFC), one of the technologies we described, is becoming a standard feature of many new smartphones, and mobile payments look like they’re poised to become very common. The Pew Internet & American Life Project just released a report on The Future of Money in a Mobile Age, which has prompted a spate of recent articles and varying opinions about mobile payments.

  • What is the future of mobile money? (ReadWriteWeb/Dan Rowinski)  “…real, noticeable change of user behavior is between two and three years away. That is the time it will take to separate all of the options that are emerging for mobile payments and determine which dominant systems will emerge.”
  • Paying with smartphones to outpace credit cards by 2020, experts say (IDG News/Cameron Scott)  “But there’s little doubt, according to Chris Silva, an analyst with Altimeter Group, that ‘NFC is going to play a much more prominent role, a major role in m-commerce,’ or mobile commerce. Google Wallet already employs NFC technology.”
  • Mobile payments won’t replace cash or credit for another decade (AllThingsD/Tricia Duryee)  “It’s unclear whether the 2020 date is optimistic or seems too far out given that so many companies are investing aggressively today. PayPal and Google are the two most notable technology companies going after the opportunity, but so are the incumbents, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express.”
  • Mobile payments may replace cash, credit cards by 2020 (Mashable/Samantha Murphy)  “‘The 2020 date might be a bit optimistic, but I’m sure that this will happen,’ said study participant Hal Varian, chief economist at Google. ‘What is in your wallet now? Identification, payment and personal items. All this will easily fit in your mobile device and will inevitably do so.’”

Contrary fact:
Don’t switch your circulation desk to all mobile payments just yet. Another Pew study released just a few days ahead of the mobile money survey found that since 2005, the percentage of U.S. adults who do not use the Internet has stayed stable at about 20-25%. They’ll probably be paying their fines in cash.