Despite numerous trials and deployments of NFC-enabled payment terminals in the U.S., mobile payments are still two to three years away from becoming mainstream, Visa’s head of mobile Bill Gajda told CNET.
According to Gajda, there are two main problems holding mobile payments back: hardware and customer awareness. In addressing the hardware problem, Visa and MasterCard are working to get NFC in more terminals, but it ultimately depends on the retailers’ willingness to upgrade their payment hardware, said Gajda. Things appear to be going in the right direction, however, with the number of NFC-enabled terminals in the U.S. swelling from 120,000 to 400,000 in the last nine months, according to CNET.
The other key hardware component, NFC handsets, has been slow to come to market as well, according to CNET. There are currently a handful of available NFC phones from handset makers such as Samsung, RIM, LG, Nokia and more. Apple has yet to offer a phone with integrated NFC.
On the consumer awareness side, Gajda said that customers need to be informed of the benefits of mobile payments over card-based methods. While credit and debit cards offer customers a degree of speed and convenience, the mobile channel is even faster and allows users to consolidate receipts, multiple credit and debit cards, and coupons and discounts in one digital space – all while providing the same, if not better, security, said Gajda.
“When it works, we get a lot of positive feedback, but there’s still more work that needs to be done,” added Gajda. “We are really starting to see momentum behind it.”
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