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By Scott Blum, vice president, Total Merchant Services
Each year brings new possibilities in mobile device technology. Smartphones have become more than just texting machines; they are now mini-computers, personal assistants and virtual shopping carts. More and more consumers would be lost without their smartphone, relying on it to get through the day.
Given the advances and rapid rate of new technologies, smartphones have become essential to how we live our lives. Technologies including mobile wallets, on-demand apps, a new era of digital assistants, and enhanced connectivity through near field communications (NFC) and Bluetooth are transforming the way consumers interact and rely on their phones.
The following takes a closer look at the top five mobile payment trends for 2017.
Mobile payments take the stage: At one-fourth the U.S. population, millennials will lead the charge to do away with credit cards and opt for the easy and seamless experience of mobile wallets. Using NFC technology, mobile wallets will exceed consumer expectations for convenience in 2017. With all the major players in the mobile device industry having delivered their own version of the mobile wallet (e.g. Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay), and Apple Pay alone reporting a growth of one million new users per week, this technology will continue to convert users in the coming year.
All consuming on-demand: Mobile devices will drive the on-demand economy in 2017. In the coming year, consumers will increasingly demand their purchases be delivered or fulfilled much faster than the couple of days they've become accustomed to through services like Amazon Prime. In many instances, consumers want their orders within just a few hours. In 2017, consumers will opt to purchase or reserve items, track the status, receive updates and facilitate pick-up all from their smartphone. These real-time capabilities available through the smartphone will bolster the on-demand economy in the New Year.
Bluetooth on the rise:Bluetooth will expand in 2017. Thanks to Apple's movement, consumers will become more adept at using wireless everywhere they go in the coming year. This sets the stage for using Bluetooth in conjunction with mobile payments. Having gone through the initial hurdles of the adoption process these past few years, Bluetooth is now at a mature point and ready for widespread consumer adoption in 2017.
A new kind of personal assistant:Digital assistants will spark a new kind of relationship between consumers and their smartphones in 2017. Using data from Google, the new mobile device personal assistant is capable of connecting all that information and providing consumers helpful insights based on online habits, searches and behaviors. From alerting users of special deals on the products they use, to notifying them of new products they may like and where to find them, the modern personal assistant is as convenient as it is useful. This will further intensify consumer dependency on their mobile devices in 2017 as they interact with their smartphones on a more personal level.
The sharing economy: Innovations in mobile technology will drive the sharing economy in 2017. The new sharing economy will continue to morph into our everyday lives in the coming year as consumers increasingly demand fast and easy ways to share services. For instance, new apps are popping up every day, offering all kinds of conveniences and things we never knew we needed. The profusion of on-demand apps and other mobile technologies will continue to facilitate the sharing economy in the coming year.
Whether it's your first time experiencing the magic of tapping to pay for groceries or leaving behind the headaches of manually splitting up a dinner bill among friends, chances are 2017 is the year that you will become a member of the mobile payment economy. And like many that have come before you and even more that will come after you, the convenience and improved experience provided by mobile payment technology will make you a believer.