Last week at Harvard University a number of payment industry executives came together as part of the Innovation Project 2013. At the summit, a number of potential future technologies were debated but one thing was almost universally agreed upon - paying with your smartphone.
At the event, some of the world's largest financial institutions and payment leaders like MasterCard and PayPal and dozens of tech start-ups like Scvngr were on hand to throw their support behind the mobile wallet. While the idea of using a smartphone application to make a payment is not new, the traction it is gaining with consumers is, and companies are ready to grab a portion of this emerging market.
Will Graylin, the founder of a new mobile payment start-up ActPay, said during a presentation at the conference that no one here had invented the mobile wallet but many are trying to invent ways to make it work.
"Every device will become a commerce device," Gary Flood, the president of global products and solutions for MasterCard, told PhilStar Business. "Technology is opening up the potential to do things in a different way around the world."
Flood went on to say that the under 35 demographic is helping to push the use of the technology. "They don't use cash," Flood said, pointing out the fact that young people are willing to use their devices to pay for everything from a cup of coffee to a taxi ride.
A Harris Interactive Inc. study from December found that tough just 4 percent of respondents under 35 have used their smartphones to buy something, 60 percent believe the devices will replace cash and credit cards.
While the mobile wallet may seem like a pipe dream, it will become a major player for merchants sooner than they think. Because of this, they should start taking mCommerce seriously now to stay ahead of the curve.