NFC Mobile Payments Slowly Gaining Traction

IT Management

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Just over one year ago, banks and mobile operators were scrambling to implement NFC mobile payment systems. They were most likely convinced that Apple would soon put the technology into its latest iPhone, propelling demand for NFC services overnight. It's 2013 now, and the latest iPhones still do not have NFC technology. With Apple now seemingly obstinate on the issue of iPhone NFC, the credit industry seems to have slowed its rollout of the tech.

However, most new Android smartphones do contain NFC technology, and Android handsets have begun to dominate global smartphone shipments. This means that NFC technology is still being launched worldwide, though at a moderate pace.

Market research firm Strategy Analytics today provided its estimate of future NFC demand. The firm has lowered its expectations for the tech, estimating that mobile NFC payments will hit just $48 billion by the end of 2017 - only around double the less than $20 billion that is expected to paid through NFC this year. Strategy Analytics blames, in part, mobile operators and handset manufacturers that have yet to provide secure software for consumers to pay through NFC.

"With the exception of China, where we see some momentum from China Mobile deploying its mobile wallet service, fewer mobile operators than anticipated [launched] NFC payment services in 2013," said Nitesh Patel, Director of Wireless Media Strategies at Strategy Analytics. "Furthermore, handset OEM Samsung, which announced its strategic partnership with VISA Inc. in February 2013, has yet to officially offer a secure payments service based on that relationship."

In addition to the ponderous mobile providers, Strategy Analytics believes the new prospect of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology could slow the NFC infrastructure rollout. With Apple now seemingly embracing BLE through its iBeacon software, the credit market could soon follow suit.