Pew Internet & American Life Project released a new report Tuesday about the future of mobile payments, and the results look pretty exciting.
Experts say that within the next eight years, mobile payments may beat out credit card, cash and check payments, becoming a primary way we transfer money. In the study, 65 percent of experts surveyed by Pew agreed that by 2020, ”most people will have embraced and fully adopted the use of smart-device swiping for purchases they make, nearly eliminating the need for cash or credit cards.” The study cited factors like convenience and security being a major influence to that shift to mobile commerce.
However, 33 percent of experts disagreed, saying that NFC (the technology that makes pay-swiping possible for smartphones), won’t be accepted yet. They said “People will not trust the use of near-field communications devices and there will not be major conversion of money to an all-digital-all-the-time format. By 2020, payments through the use of mobile devices will not have gained a lot of traction as a method for transactions.” So cash and credit will still be primary payment options in the next decade.
There were only two choices in this study, so it’s not clear how much the experts think there will be a crossover between mobile payments and traditional payments, but the fact that so many experts see mobile payments as a near-primary way to transfer money is significant.
And though this study is an interesting look at using NFC as a payment method, it doesn’t take into account other forms of mobile payments. Currently there are a number of existing mobile payment options — or “mobile wallets” as they’re sometimes called. The new Google Wallet is getting rave reviews and more users every day; PayPal, the mobile commerce giant from eBay is the accepted standard for mobile payments; and our neighbors and friends, Dwolla, are picking up press and momentum for their credit-card-less methods. There are also rumors of a digital wallet from Apple coming soon.
It will be interesting to see the adoption of mobile payments in the coming years. What do you think? Do you use mobile payments often? Would you trust your phone to be your sole money-transfer device?