Will the new iPhone kickstart mobile payments?

Many merchants are able to get by without investing in point-of-sale solutions that accept mobile payments. Although adoption has been on the rise and more stores are accepting smartphone payments, mobile payments have not been gaining traction rapidly.

This may all change with the launch of the next generation of Apple’s iPhone. Although the Cupertino, California-based company has not officially commented on the iPhone 6, several reports from tech publishers such as Wired and CNET have suggested it will be powered by near-field communication technology that will support mobile payments. Considering Apple’s popularity in the smartphone market, this could be the kick start mobile payments need to get more merchants on board.

“Apple has again the opportunity to transform, disrupt and reshape an entire business sector,” Roger Entner, a consultant at Recon Analytics, told CNET. “It is hard to overestimate what impact Apple could have if it really wants to play in the payments market.”

Of course, the iPhone 6 would not be the first phone to incorporate NFC technology. Several higher-end smartphones have already incorporated the technology and mobile payments are already possible in that regard. However, Apple has the reputation of being the mainstream trendsetter, which is why so many people in the payments industry are looking at the launch of the iPhone 6 with anticipation.

Apple’s grip on the smartphone market
Although Apple’s operating system does not account for the bulk of smartphones, the iPhone line is the single most popular brand of smartphones. The most recent data from comScore suggests that iPhones account for 42 percent of smartphones in the hands of subscribers.

Mobile payment adoption has been slow largely because these tools have yet to hit critical mass. As CNET noted, the only smartphones to really embrace mobile payments have been high-end models like the Samsung Galaxy S5. However, if the iPhone is the most mainstream smartphone in the United States, the launch of the iPhone 6 may result in a significant portion of consumers suddenly gaining access to mobile payment solutions.

Everyone involved with the payments industry should pay special attention to the launch of Apple’s new phone. If it does incorporate NFC and mobile payment technology, it could lead to a huge spike in the usage of these solutions in transactions.