Retail on the Go: Top Trends in Mobile Payments

The mobile industry is already a well-established player in the world of commerce. What business owners need to determine is just how this technology will evolve in the immediate future. For example, 2012 saw an increased awareness on the part of major brands for the need to implement mobile-optimized websites. Not only that, but it is now a given that tablet devices play a crucial role in e-commerce. This year, what seems to be on the mind of every business insider and mobile industry expert is the notion of mobile payments.

Mobile payments are a relatively new concept, evidenced by the fact consumers across the board made a mere $170 million in mobile payments in 2011. However, like all things in life, shoppers like convenience. And just as there was a trend away from checks and cash to credit cards just a generation ago, so too is there a move towards the newest of payment technologies: mobile payments.

Here are just a few of the new trends that serve to underscore the rise in popularity of mobile payments.

Mobile payments have quadrupled in one year

It was mentioned above that $170 million in mobile payments were made in 2011. Hardly an impressive figure when taking the overall number of U.S. consumers into account. However, according to statistics released by eMarketer, in-store mobile payments jumped sharply to $640 million in 2012. Also impressive is that these stats omit those customers who swiped their cards on mobile readers such as those from PayPal and Square.

Card readers are becoming ubiquitous

Square is one of the most popular mobile payment options on the market, as evidenced by their $10 billion in payment volume in 2012. The most impressive stat is that this figure is up from $2 billion the previous year. They have made such a splash on the scene that non other than Starbucks is replacing all of its card-processing units with Square. Currently, there are 7,000 Starbucks locations that accept Square’s mobile app, Square Wallet. This alone should signal just how deep into the U.S. consumer economy mobile payments are becoming.

PayPal is exploding

Square isn’t the only kid on the mobile-payment block; PayPal has arrived as well. The popular e-commerce business has made this industry a key part of their transactional platform, as evidenced by their processing of $14 billion in mobile payments in 2012. PayPal also has a stated hope of developing an entire merchant-driven network based around the notion that, these days, nearly everyone uses the money transfer platform at some point. This dream will likely become a reality sooner rather than later, as consumers can already find thousands of stores that allow for payments via PayPal’s app or with a PIN code.

Those business owners who have yet to jump on board the train of mobile payments should take the above-listed trends that it is high time to do so. Because all signs point to a reality in the not-too-distant future where cold hard cash is considered an antiquated means of payment.

Editor’s Note: Andrew Ewing is a professional blogger that shares tips and advice about franchising topics. He writes for, a leading franchise directory.

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