By Ben Haber
January 19th, 2011
The big news today is that Starbucks has launched a mobile payment app, where customers can make purchases with their Starbucks card directly through their phone (a short video from Starbucks provides an overview on how this works – it’s very simple).
While this app made a lot of news today, the long-term use of mobile payments will likely look much different, because consumers aren’t going to want 25 different mobile payment apps for various stores. I’d also add that it’s not good to become completely dependent on your phone for payments (they got lost, broken, etc.), but that’s a separate topic for another post.
While Starbucks is the innovator right now (as they usually are with social media), it will be essential for credit card companies to develop mobile payment apps so consumers can have one app they make all mobile payments through. This simplifies the purchase process, and also keeps financial statements organized. I’ll also predict that in 18 months, mobile payments will become so common that consumers will be annoyed when stores don’t accept mobile payments through their Visa, MasterCard or American Express mobile payment app.
Another way mobile payments can be advanced is to not even make it an app. Phones should have buttons that, when pushed, flashes a bar code on the screen for scanning. This way someone that’s on the phone, checking email, or using an app, doesn’t have to be interrupted for more then a second.
With these advances, security will also become a chief concern, as people often misplace or lose sight of their phones. This could take form of a pin code for the phone or the app, but it’s vital that some security is in place.
If individual businesses are insistent on developing their own mobile payment apps, it’s going to require reward systems that are similar to opening a store credit/rewards card that makes having another app and payment system worthwhile for consumers. I have no doubt Starbucks will be ahead in this development, again.
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