Boom ahead for NFC payments

Near Field Communications payments – where shoppers use their mobile phones to pay wireless for purchases instead of cash or credit cards – will evolve into a massive $180 billion global market by 2017. 

That’s the projection of a new report this week from Juniper Research which says the growth represents a seven fold increase over 2012.

It says more than one in four mobile users in the US and Western Europe will pay in-store using NFC by 2017.

The leading regions of North America, Western Europe and Far East and China will contribute 90 per cent of this market value as smartphones with NFC payment technology become standard in those markets.

The report described 2011 as “a watershed year” for NFC payments. Major technology infrastructure standards were finalised, many mobile network operators committed to the market and NFC payment pilots from both mobile operators and financial institutions transitioned to commercial service. Above all, NFC-enabled smartphone models were announced by almost all handset manufacturers and Google ignited the market by launching its wallet in the US.

The report warned, however, that the market acceleration of 2011 revealed some parts of the ecosystem unprepared for the future. In particular, retailers are less convinced of the benefits of NFC payments over existing card technologies and are unwilling to invest in contactless infrastructure so soon after the transition to Chip&Pin. Education and “win-win” propositions from other ecosystem players are necessary to make retailers as committed to this opportunity as themselves.

According to report co-author Dr Windsor Holden, this is a critical time for the NFC retail payments market.

” Despite the significant progress being made today, the full potential of the market can only be fulfilled if all ecosystem players are equally committed and mobile wallet consortia remain in place. Our report analyses the various consortia models being formed today and which types are expected to endure.”

The ‘NFC Mobile Payments ~ No Contact Required’ Whitepaper is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the study ‘NFC Mobile Payments & Retail Marketing: Business Models & Forecasts 2012-2017’.

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