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Apple is reportedly working on NFC (near field communications) functionality for the upcoming iPhone. If so, it may be a timely feature addition.
A new report from Juniper Research (http://www.juniperresearch.com) has found that more than 1 in 4 of US and Western European mobile phone users will use their NFC-enabled mobile phone to pay for goods in-store by 2017, compared with less than 2% in 2012.
Worldwide, more NFC payment pilots are being launched and transitioning to full commercial service being spearheaded by both mobile network operators and financial institutions. The Juniper report found that, while mobile retail payment services of all types are growing in popularity, the ability to "tap" an NFC phone against a POS terminal to make a purchase has tremendous user appeal.
For mobile wallet providers and partners, NFC payments also provide new and personalized retail marketing and sales opportunities above and beyond the capabilities of debit or credit cards. NFC payments can also integrate with other NFC applications, such as metro ticketing.
The report warns, however, that NFC retail payments services must be deployed with a fully integrated and tested customer care channel. NFC payments are a complex fusion of mobile, financial and retail technology; a single point of contact to take responsibility for resolving a problem quickly and efficiently must be established or users will desert the service.
-- Dennis Sellers