The payment processing arena has shifted significantly of late, driven by demand for more intuitive, efficient, seamless and modern capabilities among retailers, restaurants and others. One of the major trends in the market has been the birth and rapid coming-of-age within mobile point of sale, as consumers and corporate purchasers alike are showing their willingness and desires to use tablets, smartphones and other gadgets to complete transactions.
As a note, companies that do not embrace this trend will likely run into issues somewhere down the line, specifically with respect to consumer engagement and loyalty, with so many customers expecting to be able to use their preferred method of payment. A new report illustrated just how prolific mobile sales have already become, as well as what is to come in the next few years by way of growth, diversification and adoption among commercial firms.
The Federal Reserve's Board of Governors recently released its Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2015 report, which analyzed some of the findings that broke through in surveys distributed last year. First and foremost, the study revealed that smartphone adoption among consumers has skyrocketed, with 87 percent of adults in the United States owning a mobile phone, and 71 percent of those being smart devices. As a note, that latter figure was 61 percent last year.
Although many experts and analysts predicted it would take a long time for consumers to really begin using mPOS features when conducting transactions, the Fed's research found that 39 percent of all mobile phone owners used their device for banking, and 22 percent have already used them to make a payment at the point of sale. Looking at the broader context, 15 percent stated that they conducted a transaction with their smartphone in 2012, 17 percent did so in 2013 and the 22 percent came in last year, showing a slight acceleration of adoption.
As a note, the Fed also dug into behaviors when using mPOS capabilities, and found that QR codes were among the most common methods, while non-tap applications were not far behind. Among only smartphone users rather than all owners of mobile, 28 percent have used their device to complete a transaction in the last year.
Finally, one interesting note, unbanked and underbanked consumers are indeed beginning to get on board with mobile payment processing and banking, which aligns with a prediction the Fed made years ago regarding the merits of these capabilities.
"It's time to get moving on mobile payment processing."
Time to move
Now, there are plenty of retailers that have not yet jumped on the mPOS bandwagon, perhaps waiting to see if the trend actually gained traction and not wanting to get too far ahead of themselves. With this latest research and plenty more like it, though, it should be clear that this is less of an option and more of a requirement when conducting business in the modern era, and certainly even more so a couple years down the road.
The time is now to get moving on mobile payment processing capabilities.