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Survey reveals industry expectations for mobile technology are immobile

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Mobile payments are set to go mainstream in the next five years – worldwide – a study of payments professionals finds. But the same survey also predicted three years ago that they should already be mainstream by now.

The study by Compass Plus, an international provider of retail banking and electronic payments software to processors and financial institutions, shows industry professionals believe mobile payments, NFC and contactless technology will reach mass adoption within five years despite previous results indicating they should already be mainstream.

Compass Plus has been undertaking research into the industry’s expectations of the payments market since 2011, and this year’s results, which took in the views of more than 190 payments and banking experts from across the globe, found that nearly a third of the respondents think that mobile payments will go mainstream in their region in the next five years (31.3%). When compared to previous survey results, these findings stood out as previous expectations have consistently stated that mobile payments should be mainstream within 1-3 years. By looking at the results from the 2011 and 2012 research, whose results stated mainstream penetration would occur within 2-3 years and 1-2 years consecutively, we should already have reached a state of mass adoption. However, in the most recent set of results industry expectations have been pushed back further to 2020.

This trend has also been reflected in respondents’ answers to when NFC and contactless will become mainstream. Back in 2011, the majority vote was that mass adoption would have been reached within two years (29%), however this year’s result show that this was overambitious as respondents now believe mass adoption will occur within five years (41.5%) – seven years behind the original estimate.

“It is easy to get excited when new payments technology is introduced. However, experience has shown that no one payment channel becomes mainstream immediately. In the industry we tend to align our expectations with the potential of the technology rather than the consumer expectations,” said Maria Nottingham, Executive Vice President at Compass Plus. “To truly reach a state of mass adoption, consumers need to be on board. It is clear that current approaches to mobile payments are lacking in the versatility that the other methods offer, and this is something that needs to be addressed.”

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