Mobile Payments' Popularity, Progress on the Way

Mobile payments are becoming increasingly widespread and popular across just about every industry. At the same time, though, there is plenty of evidence that mobile payment solutions can and should go even further than they have thus far. Put simply, the majority of businesses have not yet taken full advantage of the technology.

Fortunately, there are options available for companies eager to not only embrace mobile payments, but to actually make these solutions a key differentiator and competitive advantage in their respective sectors.

"Global mobile payments are likely to reach $100 billion within 18 months."

Mobile payment popularity
The most obvious evidence of mobile payments' growing popularity can be seen in the sheer scope of consumer spending. Notably, HSBC recently revealed that global mobile payments are likely to reach $100 billion within 18 months.

"The world is on the brink of a new era in mobile payments, which will revolutionize the way businesses operate," said Kee Joo Wong, regional head of global payments and cash management in the Asia-Pacific region for HSBC, according to Banking Tech. "We've seen a marked increase in the use of smartphones and tablets by our corporate customers."

Diane Reyes, group general manager and global head of payments and cash management for HSBC, emphasized that companies have many reasons to adopt mobile payments strategies.

"Mobile payments can improve the financial health of a business," said Reyes, the source reported. "Being paid faster improves a company's liquidity and cash-flow by extending their ability to pay their own creditors faster. Improving cash-flow enables opportunities to improve credit ratings, improve credit terms and elevate a company's reputation, all of which enable growth."

Aiming for increased adoption
At the same time, though, a recent survey found that while Americans are quite aware of mobile payment solutions, they are not nearly as enthusiastic about actually using these resources themselves.

A Harris Poll of more than 2,200 United States adults found that 36 percent of participants had either used mobile payments themselves or knew someone who had, up from 32 percent in 2013. Additionally, around three-fifths of respondents said that mobile payments would be useful for retail, sports arenas, restaurants and mass transit. Sixty-three percent of survey participants predicted that smartphone payments will eventually replace credit cards entirely.

Despite these attitudes, though, the survey also found that only about one-fourth of respondents were eager to use mobile payments instead of credit cards or cash. Diving deeper, the study identified a number of reasons behind this relative lack of excitement. Most notably, 55 percent said they were worried about security issues and 54 percent said they simply don't see any clear incentive to prefer mobile payments over cash or card transactions.

These last two findings could be seen as discouraging for retailers and other businesses considering mobile payments. Obviously, the moderate interest levels among American consumers may seem like an obstacle, since that limits the current number of  potential users.

However, this also suggests businesses that can truly and effectively leverage mobile payments have the opportunity to gain a serious competitive advantage over their industry rivals. Instead of looking at the current mobile payment landscape and focusing on the moderate adoption levels, business leaders should instead see the possibility for developing and leveraging a major differentiator. With a robust, well-developed strategy, mobile payments can not only draw in those consumers who are already on-board with the technology, but also gain a whole new wave of converts.

Mobile payments can provide businesses with a competitive advantage. Mobile payments can provide businesses with a competitive advantage.

To this end, the right approach to mobile payments is essential. Obviously, security must be a priority, both to quell consumers' fears and to minimize the risk of a data breach occurring later on.

Just as important, but often overlooked, is the need to convince customers of the value they gain by using mobile payments. As the Harris Poll survey revealed, companies can't assume that consumers will simply use this technology just because it's available. Companies must demonstrate the added value that mobile payments have to offer. Fortunately, this is entirely possible - mobile payments are genuinely quite helpful and useful for many customers. It's up to individual businesses to seize and then market these advantages.

A high degree of integration will prove critical in this capacity. Specifically, businesses should look to unite their mobile payments offering with customer rewards programs. When integrated effectively, this approach will make it easier than ever for consumers to see tangible benefits from their shopping habits, all while simplifying the purchasing process overall. And when these systems are further integrated with customer relationship management and business intelligence solutions, companies can provide consumers with rewards that are specifically tailored to their behavior.

With such a solution in place, companies can use their mobile payments technology as a powerful selling point and competitive advantage.

To see a more in-depth example of how a company radically benefited from a customized mobile payments solution, download this case study today.