While contactless payments are the latest rage these days in the world of technology, there is still a period of waiting around to get the bill and tap your device on a terminal of some kind. However, this could all change very soon.
New apps are being developed where there will be no waiting, queuing or need for physical interaction with a terminal at all. Starbucks or Hailo have introduced such new apps whereby customers can pay for products and services via apps linked to bank services without having to queue or use a terminal.
Apple, Google and Samsung have all anticipated the significance of this and offer in-app payments via their own apps. MasterCard’s Qkr! app, which is available for both Android and iOS phones enables customers to settle the food and drinks bill without the need to bother staff, saving time and hassle.
The idea that our phones could take on the functionality of our wallets has long been the dream of smartphone makers and tap-to-pay functionality has certainly been gathering momentum from a slow start.
According to the UK Card Association, contactless payments in the UK topped the one billion mark in 2015. Market research outfit TrendForce is forecasting steady growth in the mobile payments market over the next four years.
In the US, big firms like retailer Wal-Mart and bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. are launching mobile payment apps this year.
And Android Pay, which allows owners of Android smartphones to tokenise their credit or debit cards and pay with their phones at contactless terminals, will launch in the UK “in the next few months”, promises Google.
There is, however, also a great deal of costly infrastructure in place to handle card payments, so retailers will be reluctant to jettison all that immediately. But as ever cheaper smartphones come onto the market, mobile payments are only set to grow.