PayPal: 'NFC will fail to gain mass adoption' in 2013

PayPal: 'NFC will fail to gain mass adoption' in 2013

Summary: PayPal's president reveals the payments providers predictions for 2013, and NFC is still expected to miss the mark.


Mobile commerce has made considerable strides in the last year or two, but 2013 could be the year where it goes mainstream. What stands in the way is determining which strategies and technologies resonate the most with consumers.

In a blog post on Monday, PayPal president David Marcus offered his forecast for the payments industry in 2013.

One of the chief predictions on his list revolves around Near Field Communications (NFC), which has struggled to take off (at least in e-commerce terms) despite a lot of media attention.

Broadcom execs recently predicted during a CES 2013 preview event that NFC for other purposes will takeoff next year, but mobile commerce uses might not be commonplace for at least a few more years.

Marcus seems pretty steadfast in rejecting NFC for mobile commerce altogether, arguing that it will both "fail to gain mass adoption" and "slowly die in 2013."

"Is tapping a phone on a terminal any easier than swiping a credit card?" Marcus continued, "I don’t think so – it’s not solving a real consumer problem and its not providing additional value to encourage me (or anyone else for that matter) to change my behavior."

Positing that "2013 will be the year that we will truly see disruption in the shopping and payments space," here's a glance at some of Marcus's other projections:

  • "Payments will finally merge with loyalty and rewards" in a more uniform fashion.
  • Cash registers will drop the wires and go mobile.
  • Location- and context-relevant shopping will become more of a priority for retailers and marketers.

Some of these might seem easier said than done. For instance, businesses need to budget considerably if they're going to break from existing infrastructures to go the mobile point-of-sale route using tablets and other devices. Additionally, it still remains to be seen what Marcus means by merging payments with rewards programs better.

Nevertheless, as consumers use their mobile devices more for shopping (just look at Cyber Monday this year), then it is really time for businesses to get more serious about their mobile commerce strategies.

Topics: E-Commerce, Apps, Consumerization, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • Well that sucks

    What a load of crap. I know PLENTY of people who would love not having to carry a wallet around because they can simply use their phone for one of them. I would be the same too, I hate carrying around my bulging wallet all the time. NFC on cards is now commonplace, How hard is it to simply have an app do the same damn thing?

    Get this off the ground already, People want NFC even if they dont know what it is yet!
  • People i am sure said the same about Debit Cards

    Since the advent of the Debit Card and online bill pay i almost never use cash or write checks(i haven't wrote a check in at least 5 years) I think NFC or similiar is the natural progression of means to pay for goods and services it might take 10 years but it will catch on.
  • NFC is here to stay...

    I'm not sure if its just an Australian thing or not, but probably 75% of all the EFT machines I deal with at points-of-sale run a "Pay Pass" or "Pay Wave" function - accepting MasterCard and Visa NFC. As far as I am aware, not a single financial institution these days (in Australia) offers a bank card or credit card that DOESN'T have the technology built in. And I love it.

    Currently, my smartphone has a case with my card in it, and I can swipe my phone against the PayPass device to instantly buy things. Some banks are already offering iPhone add-on-cases here that achieve the same thing without the card being present. Most Australians I have discussed this with are no longer fearful of the concept and would LOVE the ability to use their phone without needing a card present (or add-on case).

    What we really need, is for the big U.S. companies that make our smartphones, to release the services in Australia. That's the thing. The technology cannot appear until they have it up and running, but they are slow to do it as the U.S. doesn't have much interest in it. Some countries are more willing than the U.S., but simply don't get the opportunity to try things. Google Wallet, for example, is not available in Australia - despite what I said about NFC-capable EFT machines in such abundance, and the fact we now have more NFC-equipped Android phones than iPhones around the country (via a recent report).

    Bring it here, and we'll use it. Then you can see how it goes and whether to pursue it for other markets. he banks here have already dont he hard work. We now need Google (and it's partners), Apple, and Microsoft to bring the tech and apps.