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Will 2015 be the year of mobile payments?

2015: The Year of Mobile Payments?

As the 21st Century has progressed, we’ve found new technologies inhabiting more and more areas of our life – everything from monitoring exercise to appointment setting can now be done with mobile devices. So what’s next? Well, if the new releases in 2015 are anything to go by, traditional banking will soon be a thing of the past. 

With Apple Pay’s arrival in Australia clearly on the horizon, and national support for Coinbase from American banks, some are toting this year as the year of mobile payments. But how close are we to seeing this future come to fruition in 2015? Perhaps closer than we think.

In recent months, you may have heard more frequently about the BitCoin currency – and the BitCoin payment company Coinbase, in particular. BitCoin is a digital currency, which has found public popularity during 2014, and continues to break out further into the public consciousness. Although some doubt over the authenticity of such a currency, as well as questions about the risk involved, the strong interest in BitCoin has been substantial enough to build companies up – and gain support from high up in the financial world.

In fact, in what some may see as a particularly surprising move, Coinbase recently received $75million (USD), with investment coming from respected financial institutions – such as The New York Stock Exchange, as well as a number of banks. This support for a BitCoin company arguably signals to the rest of the financial world that times are changing, and conventional finance is beginning to embrace the mobile payments space – which makes the possibility of a full transition all the more likely. And with this success arriving at the start of 2015, there’s still much promise left in Coinbase’s venture for the year ahead.

Even more likely to push us towards a mobile payments future is the much-hyped arrival of Apple Pay to Australia’s shores. The payment function, built into the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch, allows users to securely load their card information onto one of the three devices, and pay using a standard NFC terminal. Payments are authorised by pressing a finger to the screen.

Some have claimed that this is far more secure than carrying a card around with you, and eliminates the need for remembering PIN codes and worrying about someone stealing your card. It also has the potential to speed up mobile payments as a whole. Due to Australia’s pre-existing NFC terminals, our infrastructure has been noted as being far more prepared than the States in adopting Apple Pay, giving great credit to the assumption that Apple Pay will lead the way forward. However, it must be remembered that not everyone is an Apple convert, and other mobile phone users will miss out. But other brands still have their own similar payment system (without the secure finger print), such as PayWave, which could see a reinvigoration as envy mounts from non-Apple users.

It also helps to have Apple’s heavy weight reputation behind Apple Pay, especially after having just announced their best quarterly figures to date. Apple may be what we need to see 2015 become the year of mobile payments.

It’s not, however, all positives. Although Coinbase has found itself benefiting from faith within the financial industry, Australia’s publicly listed BitCoin payment and mining company Digital CC has suffered a setback earlier this month. The difficulty with tying a business into the BitCoin currency is that the price of BitCoin at any one time can negatively (or positively) affect the company’s profitability.

Although this is to be expected with any currency based business, it does raise questions about how secure BitCoin will be as 2015 progresses, raising doubt about how much the digital currency will contribute towards the mobile payments revolution.

Of course, the only way to truly know the answer is to wait and see what happens. At the very least, with Apple Pay’s arrival refreshing the outdated card payment system, it’s safe to conclude that at the very least, mobile payment technology will well and truly find its feet this year. And with a bit of luck, we’ll soon be able to wave goodbye to credit cards forever!

About The Author

Rachel Maher is a financial content writer from Western Australia, she writes for Fair Go Finance, giving the average Aussie the best tips about savings and managing their money.

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