2011 Might be the Tipping Point for Mobile Payments
Are we now experiencing an explosion in mobile payments adoption? According to an Aite Group report (U.S. Mobile Payments: The Time Has Come), mobile payments increased substantially in 2010 to an estimated $16 billion, quite a bump from $4 billion the year before. Payments experts are predicting that 2011 may be the tipping point toward an even faster adoption rate for mobile payments, transforming the way we pay for goods and services.
Several well-known consumer-based companies are already moving in that direction. Apple recently announced that this year it will enable iPhones and iPads with NFC (near field communication) functionality, and Starbucks launched a mobile payment option at all its U.S. company-operated stores. Starbucks’ customers will be able to pay for in-store purchases through the Starbucks Card Mobile App for select Blackberry, iPhone and iPod Touch devices. According to the company, customers will have access to the largest mobile payment program in the U.S. It will be faster than ever to pay for your morning caffeine.
Mobile payment apps are gaining momentum and not only give users a way to pay quickly, but enable other functionality such as managing accounts, checking balances, and store locator features. Further, using a mobile payment platform is another way to build customer loyalty through a good customer experience.
According to some industry opinions, mobile payments may even eventually eclipse credit card usage. Already, payment-focused providers are devising “mobile wallets” that let consumers store multiple credit cards in their phones and enable payment through a wave of their phone. These mobile payment systems also enable consumers to access coupons or special offers, get reward points, etc.
All of these developments will have an impact on how multifamily companies market their communities as well. As mobile payment technology expands, and more and more consumers use their smart phones to conduct business, the multifamily industry will need to examine ways to embrace the technology so it works for both residents and owners.