The Payments Industry Buzzes About Mobile Commerce; Vending Has Lots To Gain

March 2, 2011
The electronic wallet is still in its early stage. Vending operators don’t want to be left behind.
As vending operators expand into cashless readers, the payments industry has been buzzing a lot recently about a development that will make todays cashless investment more profitable for vending operators: the use of mobile phones as electronic wallets.Mobile phone manufacturers continue to offer new benefits to consumers, and one feature that has been getting a lot of attention is near field communication (NFC), which turns the phone into a contactless credit card.NFC-enabled phones are not new. Automatic Merchandiser published an article in May of 2006 by Michigan State University Prof. Mike Kasavana on NFC and its benefits to vending.At the time of Prof. Kasavanas article, credit card companies were promoting contactless payments as an option to magnetic stripe cards. The contactless use did not gain traction since consumers did not see significant benefit in using contactless option. But thats ancient history.Today, the payments industry is buzzing with excitement about mobile payments.Mobile phones have gotten a lot smarter and consumers have become more comfortable with their versatility.A few months ago, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA announced ISIS, a mobile commerce network to allow customers across the country to make purchases with just a wave of an iPhone or Android.At last month's Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain, mobile commerce was a hot topic. Various white papers have been released claiming the era for mobile commerce is upon us.The good news for vending operators is that most of the cashless readers currently available have the ability to accept contactless payments.Consumers in the habit of using their phones as electronic wallets will find vending more convenient than ever, providing they can find vending machines that accept cashless payments.Vending operators will benefit from faster transactions, higher pricing acceptance, better security, lower cash handling costs, and all the other benefits associated with cashless.The vending industry will also benefit from mobile marketing initiatives which are currently being explored by companies such as Apple, Google and Visa.The electronic wallet is still in its early stage. Vending operators dont want to be left behind.To read Prof. Kasavanas excellent article on proximity payment in vending, go to$16096)