U.S. Mobile Payment Suppliers Shift Focus

In one sense, “mobile payment” always was about using mobile devices as a substitute for credit and debit cards. But after several years of experimentation, at least in the U.S. market, it seems as though much of the adoption has shifted to “online” payment using mobile devices.

The size of the opportunity explains why that is happening.

The number of consumers who have used Apple Pay, Google Wallet or Samsung Pay remains relatively small.

Android Pay has been more focused on enabling e-commerce than retail checkout.

Even PayPal, long a leader in online payments, has shifted a bit.  “Already for many people, it is sometimes difficult to see clear lines between online, in-app or in-store experiences,” said Dan Schulman, PayPal CEO. “As we help create this new world in which all commerce is digital commerce, our opportunity will be the entire $25 trillion universe of global retail spending, an addressable market that is 10 times larger than the one we have traditionally targeted.”

MasterCard now talks about the “MasterPass” ecosystem, not so much a “wallet.” Visa, for its part, launched Checkout in July 2014, replacing V.me, Visa’s mobile. As does MasterCard, Visa now focuses on creating an ecosystem for e-commerce.

Chase Pay, which was built on the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), might need to refocus on that MCX itself seems to be foundering, as founding member Walmart now is creating its own branded mobile wallet, with Target, another MCX founder, also said to be planning its own mobile wallet.

And even the Starbucks card now focused on “Mobile Order and Pay,” not just mobile payment.

The shifts are not so surprising, as retail mobile payments remain a work in progress, causing contestants to look for roles that can grow faster.

Compared to retail checkout e-commerce growing four times as fast, while mobile commerce is growing at eight times the rate of traditional commerce.

Starbucks, Walgreens, NFL Shop, HSN and Match are among the latest merchants to sign up for Visa Checkout, while Walmart.com will do so as well.

According to new research from comScore, Visa Checkout is more effective than other checkout options at driving conversion, which means that shoppers who start a checkout process are more likely to complete it, when using Visa Checkout.

The December 2015 comScore survey found that enrolled Visa Checkout customers completed 86 percent of transactions from the online shopping cart, with a 51 percent higher conversion rate when compared to customers using a merchant’s traditional online checkout.

Some 45 percent of Visa Checkout shoppers used a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device in making an online purchase during the 2015 holiday period, up from about 33 percent a year earlier.

Between July and November, the share of Visa Checkout customers using a mobile device grew by 10 percent.

The ability to use a mobile device as a payment mechanism remains. But many suppliers have shifted their efforts from retail payment to platform or ecosystem; to online in addition to retail; or online almost in place of retail.
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