Mobile applications the next step in consumer payments

Smartphones and tablets are the next step in consumer payment options.

Those that follow the payment industry know that the debate about credit cards killing the use of cash as a payment process has raged for some time. Now, however, a new method needs to be added to the list as the world of science fiction becomes science fact.

Over the last few years, the functionality of smartphones and tablets has increased and the use of mobile devices as a payment option is a reality. Many large retailers like Apple have created applications that allow customers to make their own purchases, without the help of an associate. Other companies like Starbucks have apps that allow customers to pay at the register by scanning a barcode on the screen. Then there are companies like Uber - a car and taxi service - that runs entirely through a mobile application, including charging the user's card.

A recent Mobile Entertainment article features an interview with Adrian Kamellard, the CEO of the Payments Council. According to Kamellard, as a society, we rarely notice steady changes in the way we pay for things, but someone that is in their thirties right now will experience more change in their lifetime than in the entire history of money. Recent innovations, like incorporating mobile devices, have the potential to become commonplace before too long.

"The 2000s were the decade of the debit card," said Kamellard. "The 2010s are likely to be the decade of the mobile phone. Just as we can't imagine how we ever did without the internet, many people will soon wonder how we used to be so dependent on cash and check. Twenty years from now even cards may seem archaic. The wallet could become a historical curiosity."

The payment industry is changing and companies need to be ready. Whether its an application or mobile device POS system, smartphones and tablets will play a role in the next step in consumer payment options.

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