Mobile Payment Update: Who Will Take the Lead This Summer?

As summer heats up, so does mobile payment  – a hot topic between major credit card companies, mobile carriers, and mobile manufacturers.

First, to give you some perspective, let’s cool down and cite some statistics from November of last year, when “Cyber Monday” was the most successful ever; and mobile purchases skyrocketed on Black Friday. U.S. shoppers made nearly two and a half times as many purchases through eBay Mobile on Black Friday 2011 compared to 2010, U.S. mobile sales were up 234% overall, and Paypal Mobile reported a global increase of 516% from Black Friday 2010 to 2011. Naturally, marketers and advertisers are now positioning themselves for a 2012 “Mobile Tuesday.”

This spring, at the London 2012 Olympics, Samsung introduced a new mobile payments system in collaboration with Visa. Near-field communication technology is taking a leap forward in the form of the Samsung GALAXY S III with mobile contactless payments.  With Visa’s payWave service, users can pay for a purchase by tapping a button on the phone and then holding it to a contactless payment terminal.

Meanwhile, Wired reports that Isis, a mobile payment system developed by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, has reached agreements with a number of major retailers including Coca-Cola, Food Locker, and Macy’s to implement their system in stores nationwide later this year. Google Wallet works at hundreds of MasterCard terminals, found in locations like Macy’s, Toys “R” Us, and Old Navy, but for now, the service is only available through Sprint, on four devices (not including the iPhone). And now, Apple has come up with Passbook, an elegantly simple new app for iOS 6 that works with retailer’s existing apps and QR codes rather than NFC technology.

It’s tough to say which will come out on top. We’ve been there before – remember  Betamax versus VHS and HD DVD versus Blu-ray?

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto. Disclosures