Posted by Bethany Frank on 23 Nov 2016
With innovative payment options emerging from technology pioneers, retailers, and banks, consumer preferences at the checkout line are slowly but surely expanding to include digital alternatives. Below are three common situations in which mobile payments are likely to be the best payment option available to consumers.
When You Can’t Carry a Wallet
An often-cited argument against mobile payment apps is that people are so used to carrying a physical wallet, there isn’t a compelling enough reason to use them. This ignores the many situations in which carrying a physical wallet is difficult. Event venues, amusement parks, and outdoor festivals are only a few examples of places where people need to minimize what they are carrying, but still need a way to pay for goods and services.
In these situations, people tend to simply stuff cash or cards in their pockets, an obviously unsafe option that can lead to loss or theft; and while people are quick to forfeit a purse or wallet, many hold onto their phones in such cases. Mobile payments are likely to become the most preferred payment option in these situations, especially as awareness of the technology and merchant acceptance increase.
When You Don’t Have Your Wallet, or Lose It
Imagine going on a walk with a friend simply to enjoy the stroll and leaving your wallet at home because you think you won’t need it. While on this stroll, you decide to want a cup of coffee, or you remember you need to pick up some milk for the house. As long as you have your phone with you, these kinds of on-the-fly purchases need not wait until later.
Perhaps the most important use case for mobile payments, however, is in the event someone loses their purse or wallet. A mobile payment app can save one from being stranded without a way to pay for anything, especially if he or she is on a trip away from home. It is a good idea for smartphone owners to download and set up their preferred mobile payment app for backup in case of an emergency.
When You Want to Collect Rewards
Businesses – especially those in retail and foodservice – are looking to engage customers in new ways as mobile payment adoption increases. Many already offer customers rewards or loyalty points for using a mobile app to make a purchase.
Starbucks, an unlikely but clear leader in the mobile payments space, has seen tremendous success with its native app. The total percentage of sales coming in through the app increased from an already-impressive 12% in 2014 to over 20% in 2016, with the company predicting it could account for more than 50% of all transactions within a few years. A lot of the company’s success with the app has to do with the rewards customers collect for using it – with every purchase made, customers collect “stars” which are redeemable for free drinks and discounts as they accumulate.
Mobile payments adoption has been slower than expected, but it is only a matter of time before consumers become better accustomed to the technology and recognize its benefits over other payment methods. While they may never fully phase physical payment methods, mobile payments are likely to become a popular option in various situations, and may eventually become the overall preferred payment method among several key demographics as we move towards a more digitally connected world.
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