Where is the Growth of Mobile Payments?

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With all the talk around smartphones, smart watches, and increasing technology choices, will the traditional plastic card be a thing of the past?  Not so fast.  While the chatter is all about millennials and their love of the next tech toy, their use of credit cards is still lower than other age groups.

The financial crisis starting late 2007 led to stricter requirements from banks and lending institutions and also touched the credit card industry.  Credit card offers were focused on those with the best credit. Restrictions were placed on how credit card offers could market on college campuses. Credit card applications required proof of income or cosigner. All this led to less access of younger Americans to credit cards.

Jump ahead to 2019 and the industry finds the millennials to be choosier when picking a credit card.  They research their options and consider not only interest rates and annual fees but put a higher focus on rewards, perks, and unique experiences. Millennials are likely to have fewer cards than other generations.

Availability and Experience

Proximity mobile payments—tap and pay—haven’t quite taken off the way that payment platforms hoped they would. One significant factor is that not all retailers have adopted the technology.  Generally, coffee shops and fast food establishments have matched their payment options with the latest technology to just tap and pay.  Other retailers have not been as quick to change.  Thus, going out without your physical credit card limits where you can shop.

Another factor is the number of players in the game. Consumers have a variety of payment options to choose from like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, as well as retailer specific payment options such as Walmart and Starbucks. Without a compelling reason to use one versus another, the consumer tends to use what comes on their phone. The variety has led to an inconsistent checkout experience.

More to Come

The growth may be slow, but the technology is not going away.  Both Visa and MasterCard continue to roll out contactless chip cards.  Smartphones continue to get more and more sophisticated. As retailers replace older equipment, the marketplace will steadily have more opportunities to continue the growth of the mobile payments acceptance.


Jennifer Autian is the founder of TCA Business Solutions and an independent representative of merchant services.  To learn more about contactless payments or explore other payment processing options, connect with her at 678-523-8760 or by email at Jennifer@tcabiz.com.

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