Mobile payments may get real in 2015

Every December, it seems, come predictions that mobile payments will finally take off next year. And it never quite happens.

The surprisingly slow adoption rate for mobile payments is due to lack of interest among consumers (if not vendors), too many competing payment technology platforms, and insufficient distribution of NFC payment systems in retail outlets, restaurants and other businesses serving the general public.

But don’t be fooled by the fact that mobile payments haven’t met outsized expectations. Mobile payments have been increasing yearly. And Forrester analyst Denee Carrington recently forecast that U.S. consumer mobile payments will nearly triple to $142 billion in 2019 from $52 billion in 2014.

“The adoption of mobile payments is an evolution — not a revolution — and the evolution is well underway,” Carrington writes in a Forrester blog post accompanying the $499 forecast report.

Apple Pay, released in October with iPhone 6, could be the platform that gets many consumers over security concerns surrounding mobile payments because it uses tokenization to secure transactions. Further, since many Apple users are eager to adopt new technologies, Pay has a large built-in base of potentially active and enthusiastic users, essential for a thriving mobile payments platform.

As for the non-Apple side, that market will remain crowded and confusing in 2015. But as Android owners begin noticing how iPhone users are using their phones to make payments, they’ll want to do the same thing. There’s nothing like strong consumer demand to help provide clarity in a market.

For enterprises, 2015 should be the year to really take mobile payments seriously — if you haven’t been already. Based on the release of Apple Pay and a number of other mobile apps in recent months, next year will be the first when failing to meet this service demand will cost you business.

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