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3 mobile payment trends from NRF 2019

January 28, 2019

The NRF Big Show took place in New York City earlier this month. During the event, 37,000 retailers, vendors and technology companies gathered to showcase and discuss the latest retail and payment innovations. Here are three significant trends in mobile payments from the show.

Pay at the table—Much has been written about the drive to alter the customer experience in retail settings, but similar shifts are happening in restaurants as well. While restaurants aren’t competing with online competitors like their retail brethren, consumer expectations for ease and the security of their payment—along with the tangible benefits of pay-at-the-table technologies—have many restauranteurs interested in at least considering an upgrade.

More specifically, giving customers the ability to check themselves out, at their own convenience, is one way to keep customers happy; increase security, since the card never leaves the customers’ hands; and increase the speed of table turns. In addition, waitstaff can be freed up to focus on experience-enhancing tasks rather than acting as a runner for the payment transaction.

Micromerchants—For years now, micromerchants haven’t really been on the radar of most payment technology vendors due to lower processing volume and smaller average tickets. As the costs of mobile payment technology have declined and the upper tier retailers have established their plans and investments, vendors are now setting their sights on smaller retailers that have historically been overlooked. These vendors know three things that you should also know.

First, even small transaction volumes can add up to healthy processing residuals. Second, the number of micromerchants is on the rise. An Intuit study predicts that 40% of American workers will be independent contractors by 2020. Many of these workers will need to accept mobile payments for their goods and services. Finally, when some micromerchants inevitably grow into larger merchants, the vendor wants to have an established relationship.

The Rise of NFC payments—Zion Market Research’s report also indicated that in 2017, around half of U.S. cell phone users participated in some sort of mobile payment activities. This number is projected to reach 90% by 2020. Currently, technologies such as Apple Pay and Android Pay lead the way.

Knowing that the trend is toward NFC payments, we urge solution providers to strongly recommend terminal upgrades and mobile payment strategies that include an NFC component. While NFC payments alone might not be enough to warrant an upgrade, it could be the value-add needed to compel lagging merchants to upgrade their terminals for EMV.

According to a report from Zion Market Research, the mobile payment technology market is projected to reach more than $3 trillion by 2024, at a CAGR of 60% between 2018 and 2024. With so much upside to this market, there’s little doubt that you should put your own emphasis on mobile payments with your customers.