For some, a credit card is almost as indispensable as a driver's license. The thought of leaving home without it, as the old commercials decried, is unthinkable. But the rise of several breeds of mobile payment technology have all emerged to make it easier to go out without that credit card, and yet still do everything that a credit card would have done.
The market is already beginning to fracture, and with it comes several different payment systems. Naturally, Apple Pay and Google (News - Alert) Wallet are coming out with big products that offer security as high-end as the convenience factor involved. Meanwhile, NXT-ID is shipping the Wocket Wallet and Card system that helps take all the cards currently in one's wallet and replace same with one all-in-one card system. Stratos (News - Alert) is also reportedly doing something similar.
What's particularly interesting about the mobile payment market is that it is, in reality, a series of niche markets. Since no one payment product can offer all the applications potentially available—largely because the payments system is so complex overall—there's room in the market for a wide variety of products. For example, Wocket is offering its all-in-one system up complete with a level of biometric security, while Google Wallet and Apple (News - Alert) Pay are focusing on the smartphone connection, likely owing to the significant infrastructure the two firms have already established in the mobile device market.
Meanwhile, everyone involved is working to face some upcoming changes in the market. As the United States proceeds from the magnetic stripe card system to the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) card structure, that's starting to open up some new opportunities as well. Reports suggest that Samsung (News - Alert) is already working to bring out the Samsung Pay mobile wallet system—especially noteworthy as Samsung makes a lot of mobile devices itself as well as some of the processors for Apple devices—and reports also note that NXT-ID recently adjusted its pricing on the Wocket Wallet system, making it generally available at the non-promotional price of $229.
There have been movements aplenty in the mobile payment market over the last several months, and just watching the interplay shows just how complex this field is. There have been some suggestions, for example, that Samsung Pay may ultimately beat Apple Pay thanks to the fact that Samsung Pay can be used anywhere that's currently accepting credit or debit cards. Apple Pay, meanwhile, needs something of an infrastructure change to take its payment system. But Apple Pay, by like token, has access to the massive Apple user base, and that's a tempting target. So tempting, in fact, that it actually caused Best Buy (News - Alert) to break ranks within the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) that it helped found, throwing over the MCX's own still-under-development CurrentC program to bring in Apple Pay in the short run. Throw in the idea of Samsung getting into the market—especially given that reports suggest Samsung will be making many of the processors for the upcoming iPhone 7 lineup—and that might well destabilize the market further thanks to Samsung's huge worldwide user base.
There's a lot going on in the mobile commerce space, and with a host of competitors already in the field—and plenty more likely to follow shortly—we'll see plenty of changes before it's all said and done. In the end, the success stories are likely to come from those firms that can bring the most interested users into the fold.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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