As a young business, it remains unclear where value and leadership will develop within the mobile payments business. In principle, retailers who are the immediate buyers of payment services; the processing networks; issuing banks; device suppliers; new service suppliers or access services providers could emerge in a driving role.
And, so far, there have been some notable misfires. A consortium including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile US failed to gain traction. A consortium of leading retailers likewise failed to get leadership.
Google’s own efforts have encountered modest success, while device-oriented systems linked to Samsung phones or Apple iPhones have been launched.
There have been some notable successes, though. Starbucks might be the largest mobile payment system in regular use in the United States. Square likewise has been a success in the small business point of sale transaction processing segment of the business.
Apple Pay has been gaining traction as well. According to Apple, Apple Pay now represents 75 percent of all contactless payment transactions made in the United States.
Apple says half of transaction value from payments made through Apple Pay are coming from non-U.S. markets.
Apple Pay is currently available in the U.S. the U.K., Switzerland, Canada, Australia, China, France, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Some evidence of Apple’s key role in the payments ecosystem can be gleaned by the actions of other in the value chain.
Four of the largest banks in Australia — Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, National Australia Bank, and Westpac Banking Corp — have asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to be allowed to join forces and negotiate with Apple as a single block.
While Apple does allow some of the banking apps be loaded on iPhones, it limits their access to the handset's hardware, such as antennas or NFC. As a result, the bank apps are more Internet banking tools than full contactless payment platforms.
Leadership still is not a settled matter in the mobile payment or contactless payments business.