I was in Japan recently, the home of contactless payments. I know that contactless is a well established payment method in the region, but seeing a businessman in a bar pay for a beer by waving his phone over a terminal still took me by surprise! No great shakes for him of course, it’s just a way of life, even outside the big cities.
The launch of Orange and Barclaycard’s ‘Quick Tap’ m-payment service will enable subscribers to purchase items in 50,000 UK stores by simply tapping their handsets against dedicated point-of-sale registers. With industry giants such as Apple and Google planning to roll out similar services of their own, the NFC trend is clearly poised to take off. However, managing the sudden rise in m-payment expenses could be challenging for enterprises, and in terms of keeping track of what employees are buying with their mobiles.
Recent reports from Bloomberg revealed that Google is to start testing a mobile payment service that will encourage shoppers to make proximity payments by simply tapping their handsets against dedicated point-of-sale registers. Coupled with rumours of Apple’s iPhone 5 not supporting NFC technology and the news that leading UK retailers will be trialling mobile payments this year, the issue of ‘wave and pay’ services has never been more topical. However, businesses will have to keep a close eye on what employees are spending when mobile payments become more commonplace in the expense mix.
Recent articles on emerging mobility tools have highlighted the extraordinary lack of understanding around the shift in technology from the desktop to the device. It seems that overnight we’ve moved from a society of desk-jockeys driving PCs to a mobile workforce living on our PDAs and using them to access information and undertake commercial transactions.