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The Biggest Factor in the Future of Mobile Payments: You

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Many consumers may be looking forward to a day when mobile payment technology becomes available and usable on a widespread basis, but for the companies developing these platforms, there is some concern about the way current spending habits might shape the future of mobile wallets.

While there is a sufficient buzz about the various mobile wallet payment systems currently being developed by companies in various industries, there is also a fair bit of uncertainty about exactly what type of payment technology will eventually win out and become ubiquitous, according to a report from the Credit Union Times.

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Because so many companies are designing their own systems, each with its own features, technologies, benefits and drawbacks, it’s currently unclear which will be the one consumers find they like best. However, as with many other technologies that have risen to the fore in recent years, some competitors might be left in the dust simply through Americans’ shopping tendencies; in the end, it will be consumers’ habits in using these systems that decides which wins out.

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“Digital wallets give consumers the ability to use their phones as they do their physical wallet,” Andy Schmidt, research director at Boston-based research and advisory firm CEB TowerGroup, told the news site. “It’s the hot topic today. But it is kind of the Wild West out there.”

On the other hand, so many companies having skin in the game will likely be of benefit to consumers in the end, the report said. With a number of different options available to them, consumers will likely have to be incentivized by competing mobile wallet developers to adopt one over the other, meaning that there will be significant advantages beyond just the convenience such a system would provide at the checkout counter.

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Currently, nearly all mobile wallet platforms are in the pilot testing stage at the latest – though Google’s Wallet system is available, the report said. However, companies won’t likely know the true potential of these systems until the technology to use them is more widely available for both consumers and businesses.

Experts have repeatedly noted that whichever technology wins out in the end, it will be a boon for the companies that push it. Some estimates show that the mobile purchasing industry will be worth tens of billions of dollars annually by 2015.

Image: Andrew Currie, via Flickr

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