Most consumers have only a vague idea of what purpose Near Field Communications (NFC) serve and many remain reluctant to use their mobile devices to make payments, mostly on account of security concerns.
Smartphones are now ubiquitous and tablets are getting there but the mobile payment industry has not appeared to be making great strides. However, there is some excellent news for those engaged in the provision of mobile payment services, at least those inclined to place their trust in forecasts. A report by market research firm Gartner expects mobile payment volumes in 2012 to surge by 61.9%.
According to Gartner, consumers around the world will make USD171.5bn worth of payments through their mobile devices, a very impressive improvement on the USD105.9bn recorded last year.
The reasons cited for this marked progress are changing consumer habits and the unrelenting pace of the adoption of mobile devices. Gartner forecasts that 212.2 million people will be using mobile payment services in 2012 compared to 160.5 million last year.
Gartner also believes that growth will continue at a cracking pace until 2016, with both volumes and values expanding annually by 42% on average. By 2016 the market will be worth USD617bn and 448 million people around the globe will be using mobile payment services.
As for NFC, the technology allowing contactless payment through smartphones, the period up to 2016 is not expected to see any meaningful growth but the situation is predicted to change after that.
According to Gartner research director Sandy Chen, an NFC lift-off requires not only a change in user behaviour but also collaboration among banks, mobile carriers, card networks and merchants.