The Mobile-Plastic Dilemma

As payment technology—as along with payment liability law—advances, retailers will quickly be confronted with more and more complex POS transactions. These changes will affect not just mobile payments, but traditional plastic transactions too. Navigating the evolving payment landscape will show some costs in addition to potential advantages to retailers.

Hardware/Software Adoption

The mobile wallet market is still youthful and, like many developing sectors, it remains seen who definitely are left standing once the dust settles. And to be determined is whether or not customer behavior or store infrastructure will blaze the road forward.

Though and not the first company to supply phone-based near field communication (NFC) technology payments, Apple Pay has largely been considered the very first plan to apply significant pressure towards the retail world.

Apple Pay has, however, experienced an unexpected amount of resistance from retailers to date. The main critique is the fact that Apple Pay is much more of the charge card supplement than the usual substitute. To make use of the service, customers must link a charge card or bank card for their account. Which means all the interchange fees–typically between 1-3 % of every transaction–associated with processing plastic transactions still apply. In the outlook during the shop, the necessity to purchase NFC hardware represents yet another cost to allow a credit card applicatoin that entrenches the plastic economy.

If there is a wish list for the way retailers would rather conduct mobile payments, it most likely looks something similar to CurrentC. The creation of the retail alliance known as the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), CurrentC bypasses charge card companies, drawing rather in the customer’s linked banking account. Instead of NFC, CurrentC uses simple scan at POS having a comparatively low-cost scanner.

Here’s where it will get complicated. All of the parties involved are trying to leverage their position in POS chain to push their vision of mobile payments. MCX retailers, including giants like Wal-Mart, Best To Buy and CVS all declined to process Apple Pay hoping of steering customers toward CurrentC. A lot of individuals companies have experienced difficulty holding the road against public backlash while CurrentC gradually limps from beta. Best To Buy lately announced they could be accepting Apple Pay. On the other hand, Apple isn’t yet allowing other retail apps to utilize the iPhone’s NFC technology.

We are too visiting a classic VHS/Betamax fight happening before our eyes? Has Apple Pay and it is older-but-less-popular NFC counterpart, Google Wallet already won this fight?

Not always, but this will depend mainly upon just how much fragmentation customers are prepared to tolerate on the market. Apple Pay adoption continues to be slow. While CurrentC has little hope of strong-arming Apple Pay from the mobile payments business–-or perhaps from MCX stores—it could still lure shoppers with sales, loyalty points and other alike store-specific perks. Although this won’t put an finish to plastic’s stranglehold on non-cash transactions, it isn’t not reasonable to consider that could still convert a big part of individuals transactions to CurrentC.

A great situation study for the way a store might escape getting to set up NFC communicators at POS yet still be suitable for Apple Pay may be the Starbucks application. The app’s 12 million-plus users get access to rewards, membership perks and mobile payments via bar code scan. The application doesn’t cut plastic from the loop, however. Users can load their virtual gift certificates with credit, debit or Apple Pay.

CurrentC’s window for creating maximum impact within the retail world may rapidly be closing, however. By April 2015, only 20 % of iPhone users had upgraded to some NFC-compatible phone. The rest of the 80 % don’t have access yet get access to Apple Pay. Hooking individuals customers with an excellent retail application may likely increase the likelihood of individuals customers re-installing when the time comes to upgrade.

Security Issues

Before referring to mobile payments, let’s be obvious about one factor: plastic may not be secure, specifically in America. The U . s . States is among the couple of nations to make use of magnetic strip reads at POS as opposed to the more-secure nick and PIN combination favored elsewhere. Which will alternation in October 2015, whenever a liability shift happens, departing retailers who neglect to upgrade to EMV technology responsible for any fraud that can take put on cards fitted having a security nick. Considering that charge card fraud is really a $10 billion ‘industry,’ not upgrading represents a substantial risk.

The safety of mobile payments is similarly determined by the idea of user-authentication at POS, but lacks an assured physical security feature such as the EMV card. Apple Pay tries to circumvent this by not storing any charge card data around the device or Apple servers, but fraudsters have previously exploited the weak link along the way: grabbing charge card information once the initial account link is to establish. When the fraudulent account is produced, it might be exceedingly simple to use it at POS since cashiers never handle an actual card.

QR code apps might be much more vulnerable. CurrentC, which collects user data, was already hacked. The Starbuck’s application protects charge card information with simply an easy user ID and password.

For much better or worse, it’s likely both mobile and plastic payments is going to be around well in to the near future. Unless of course you’re dealing solely in cash, the alterations both in payment types strongly indicate the necessity to replace aging POS hardware with units outfitted with EMV and NFC technology.

Chris Motola

Chris Motola is definitely an independent author, journalist, programmer, and game designer that has mastered the skill of using his laptop in no less than 541 positions, many of them unergonomic. When he isn’t pushing keys or swiping screens, he’s most likely out exploring urban or natural environs, experimenting in the kitchen area, or delighting/annoying his buddies together with his ideas and theories.

Chris Motola

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