Smartphones are being touted as the first global wallet following continued growth in mobile which now accounts for 29 per cent of all online transactions and is on track to reach 80 per cent of the adult population by 2020.
In the eyes of Vijay Koduri, senior vice president of marketing for Adyen, this would see mobile take on the role of global currency, in a similar fashion to gold in the ancient world, by scything through the confusing mass of 180 global currencies currently being traded.
For this to happen however the competing payment systems being offered by Apple and Google will need to be unified under a single standard, although Koduri points to emerging markets in Asia and the BRIC nations for the most diverse e-commerce solutions.
These include China’s Alipay which accounts for close to half of all transactions in the country and Paytm which is making inroads across India.
Koduri wrote: “In-store payments are the key to mass adoption for mobile wallets, seeing as more than 90 per cent of transactions occur in stores. In the coming years, it will be interesting to see which standard wins out for in-store purchases: NFC or barcode/app-based payments. As it stands, in the US, Starbucks garners the most mobile payments by far, deploying a simple closed-loop barcode scanning solution.
“The question is, as Apple Pay and Google Wallet truly globalise, will they rely solely on NFC, or also support barcode scanning and in-app payment in stores? Or, with Alipay, Paytm, Yandex and others amassing an impressive user base, will they become the default and gain popularity in the West as well?”
Closer to home Apple Pay was recently launched in the UK to much fanfare.