Now, I'm a mobile transaction fan. I just made my first Isis payment at my local pharmacy here in Massachusetts. (No, Isis hasn't opened up here, I just had a SIM/UICC swapped out at the last Smart Card Alliance show in Salt Lake City. And, yes, it worked. More on that later as I gain more experience with it.)
My wife's jaw dropped today when I deposited a check from one of her tutoring students using my smartphone.
I've got Starbucks, Square Wallet, LevelUp, and more.
I like this stuff.
But I'm something of an outlier. It's my business. And it's my business to be both encouraging and skeptical.
So, upon seeing the numbers reported in the BI report press release, it got me wondering about how big mobile really is when looked at against the backdrop of all card payment volume. So, using the press release's numbers and rounding them up to $25B and putting them against recent enough US credit and debit card volume of $2,158 trillion, we have, well, a start.
|PayPal mobile volume||14.0|
|All other in-store mobile||.6|
|rounded up to||25.0|
|All credit and debit card volume, 2011*||2,158|
|All mobile as percentage of all credit + debit cards||1.16%|
|* Nilson Report|
Baby StepsIt's clear, we're still in mobile's infancy at 1.6%. That's where we are today. That number's diminutive stature would be almost laughable except for, at least, a few reasons:
1. These are the baby's first steps. But, like the infant, all of the equipment's in place and it just needs practice and time to grow.
2. Merchants are excited by what tablets can do with the right software. And it's not just Square. NCR's Silver iPad-based POS software is gaining attention. There are dozens of others. Expect a LOT of Level 4 merchants (that's the small ones) to look seriously at this approach.
3. Consumers are, at least, intrigued by paying or handling coupons via their smartphones. According to the report, there's 7.9 million of us who have used either NFC or QR code based mobile payments. That leaves 80 million and more to go.
Even if the mobile numbers are over or understated by 50%, the number is of sufficient size for everyone to acknowledge that mobile isn't just a fad and it isn't going away. And it's still an infant.
Happy Valentine's Day, Kiddo!
(BTW, it might be pretty embarrassing for PayPal should Square's volume surpass it. That's a race to watch!)