Mobile Wallet Helps You Shop


For those trying to get last-minute holiday shopping done, the mobile wallet and NFC (near-field communication) provide a way to quickly check out and access mobile coupons—but how quick and easy is the technology?

M2M companies have had a big focus on making the mobile payment experience as simple as possible. Rob Brown, vice president of market development at Trustonic,, says if it is not convenient then users won’t jump to the technology, and there has to be something you get from the payment experience that adds a level of convenience.

James Bruce, lead mobile strategist at microprocessor developer ARM Holdings,, agrees, adding that pulling out your NFC phone to pay is essentially the same user experience as pulling out your credit card. “I think the major benefit that payment providers can do is around the actual payment process—actually build application services to provide more information to allow the consumers to actually track where they are spending, when they spent it, etcetera,” he says.

According to Bruce, the real opportunity is in what he calls “non-traditional” NFC payments that completely eliminate the cash register experience. “Rather than having to go up and place your order and pay for it, you just go up to a menu that’s actually up on the wall, tap the phone on the items that you want, press pay on your phone, and it is automatically ordered, it’s automatically paid for, and you’ve just made the whole transaction a lot easier,” he explains.

He thinks the same thing can happen in a retail environment, except in that case, the sales associate would use his or her phone to check you out, completely eliminating the need for the cash register. “If you look at the Apple Store today, they do payments from an iPhone,” he says. “The next step from that would be NFC. The staff there has a phone, they literally scan the items using the camera, and then they put their phone against your phone and the payment is carried out.”

Brown also believes the cash register should be eliminated, although he envisions shoppers checking themselves out. “This is something we do in Europe quite a lot,” he says. “You wave your EMV card; you are given a barcode scanner, and off you go filling the basket.” As the consumer shops, Brown says the scanner tallies the total and when it is time to pay, the shopper pulls out their phone and performs a simple online payment—no POS (point-of-sale) system or cashier needed. Retailers can also do things like push offers directly to a shopper’s phone as they walk around the store, either based on what they are already buying or the buying preferences stored on their EMV smart card.

Of course, no one argues the possibilities of mobile payment technology are endless, and the industry is more than chomping at the bit. So what will it take to get consumers to actually use such devices?
“What has to happen now is just really to enhance that user experience,” notes Jeff Miles, vice president and general manager of mobile transactions product line at NXP Semiconductor, “How do the programs interact? What is more intuitive? How do we make it easier for the consumer? That only comes with actual user experience.”

Want to learn more about mobile payments and NFC? Check out the 2014 Connected World Conference, located within the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, February 6-17.

Want to tweet about this article? Use hashtags #NFC #M2M #mobilepayment #retail

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