Apple made one thing clear at their 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference: Mobile payments aren’t just for brick and mortar stores anymore. The company’s decision to integrate its digital wallet service into mobile-web experiences is possibly the most important advancement the payment space has seen in the past five years.
Significant as this announcement is, the battle to become the universal digital wallet is far from decided. In 2015, transactions made from mobile phones totaled $8.7 billion in the U.S. and are expected to grow 210 percent to $27 billion by the end of 2016. With plans to be a preferred payment option and leverage transactional data (Google), reduce transaction fees (retailers), be the default payment card for mobile payments (banks), or be the preferred online payment platform (technology leaders), providers are unlikely to surrender their slices of the market without a serious fight.
Every player – from the majors like Apple Pay and Android Pay to startups like Stripe and Square – is locked in a battle to own the space. Only time will tell how they will evolve and who will win. In the interim, there are three recommendations that retailers can consider as they navigate the changing mobile payments field: