The mobile wallet wars are heating up around the world and putting an end to the proverbial chicken-and-egg scenario that has plagued this industry for years: MNOs wouldn’t order phones with proximity payment technology like NFC, so merchants wouldn’t deploy systems that could accept these payments (and vice versa).
However, in the past 12 months, the adoption of NFC technology by phone manufacturers has skyrocketed. Analysts expect that 80 million NFC-enabled phones will be shipped globally in 2012 alone. Chip manufacturer NXP says that more than 200 NFC-enabled phone designs have been submitted. And, VeriFone has made its own contribution to ending the chicken-and-egg scenario, by shipping more than 1 million NFC-enabled POS systems in the past 12 months, along with the software and services infrastructure to enable the advanced functionality of mobile wallets.
Some of the major brands enabled with mWallet acceptance by VeriFone include: American Eagle Outfitters, Bloomingdales, Champs Sports, Foot Locker, GUESS, Macy’s, Radio Shack, The Container Store, Toys“R”US and many more in multiple countries. This was not driven by just a few major deployments. Rather, it’s part of a global broad-based demand that generated orders in every region where VeriFone operates. Google and Isis? Sure, they are major drivers of adoption, but also are the mWallet plans in every region of the world, driven by MNOs, banks, and other major players.
At the end of the day, all these mWallet plans come back to the POS. A consumer may have one mobile wallet, but the merchant will probably accept most, if not all, of them – they don’t want to bet on just one innovation. VeriFone is here to enable them all, and make sure they co-exist securely within the existing payments infrastructure. Customers–and their customers, the consumer will choose the winners of this competition.
VeriFone is not here to choose the technology winners either. We are shipping NFC devices and enabling mWallets via other technologies such as PayPal’s cloud wallet because our customers are demanding them. However, 1 million NFC-enabled POS systems in 12 months is a strong indication that NFC will emerge as one of the winners.