This week an agreement between international coffee giant Starbucks and mobile payment facility square was announced with what technology analysts are saying will be the start of a ‘seismic shift’ away from cash.
Square is a mobile payment service which allows users to facilitate transactions using their mobile phones, either by utilising the app or by attaching a square reader to the phone itself.
The deal with Starbucks is significant because Starbucks is a huge international player, and opens the door for Square Inc. to expand into international markets. This has the potential to revolutionise the way we make our payments and could kick-start international growth for mobile payment facilities.
It’s interesting to look back and see how our payments systems have evolved with our technology.
Before the digital revolution, cash was always king, being accepted everywhere around the world as forms of currency. The introduction of credit cards then changed things with the need to carry cash reducing as a simple small piece of plastic meant that we could sign or swipe for our goods and services.
Next came the e-commerce / web shop facility and consumers simply could shop from the comfort of their own home for products that could be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Now we are seeing the next step in payment evolution. As the social media and mobile revolution drives us into using our mobile smart devices and away from the familiar desktops, businesses around the world are catching up with consumers and tapping into the mobile market for point-of-sale revenue capture. With ever less effort, businesses are allowing their customers to streamline this payment method that is both convenient and self-service reliant, which in turn increases efficiency and trust from the customers perspective.
Social media is also starting to emerge as a payment facility, with current social networks integrating their platforms with financial institutions. Once such example is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Kaching payment facility which allows registered users to pay their Facebook friends by linking their bank account to their Facebook account.
Even our phones themselves, with the assistance of applications, are slowing turning into our wallets replacing credit and debit cards. One such example is Google Wallet.
As new technology, such as Social TV, begins to gain momentum – mobile payment facilitation will become as normal as online transactions across many industries. Businesses who embrace this technology as early adopters will more than likely stand ahead of their competitors whom lag behind, just as we saw occur with early and late adopting businesses when it came to social media.
Consumers – are you comfortable using mobile payment systems?
Businesses – will you embrace this new technology early, or wait for it to become more established?
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