The Future of Mobile Payments Using Virtual Reality
Google and Samsung are battling one another for a slice of the highly lucrative mobile payments space. U.S. mobile payments totaled $8.71 billion in 2015, with spending expected to rise to $27.05 billion in 2016, according to data from eMarketer.
“Apple Pay is one that’s very prominent and everybody hears about it, followed by Android and Samsung,” according to Guy Harris, president of Elavon North America, a mobile payment provider and subsidiary of U.S. Bank.
“Over a period of time, your wallet will get replaced with your phone. How quickly that’s going to take place is the interesting question that the industry is having to address.”
Virtual Reality in Improving Way of Mobile Payment
Harris said that Apple, Google and Samsung’s mobile payment platforms from are not as mainstream as the headlines suggest. “They are, in terms of visibility and awareness,” he said, adding that the challenge is getting people to actually use the service.
“Everybody knows how to use a credit card and a debit card,” Harris said. He, however, wants the industry to be able “to get everyone to think that they can pull their phone out and pay for something consistently, wherever they are.”
Mobile platforms aside, the payments space could soon merge with virtual reality. “Theoretically, using the virtual reality technology you can shop and actually pay” for items, he said. “In the future, it may well become mainstream, but at the moment, it’s not – it’s one of the investment areas that all technology companies are looking at.”
“Facebook has certain areas where they are encouraging people to buy things from them,” Harris said. “But when you talk about payments, there’s an ecosystem that sits beneath payments that’s quite complicated, which the likes of Facebook, Apple and the social media organizations including Twitter (TWTR – Get Report) are really only interested to allowing customers to buy things as opposed to processing payments.”
MasterCard showcased new ways for people to pay for goods in March, as the company let visitors to the Arnold Palmer Invitational (API) PGA Tour event in Florida pay for items through virtual reality glasses.
For the initiative, MasterCard teamed up with Wearality, an Orlando-based company that develops VR glasses and other wearables, to show consumers a new way to browse and pay for goods. Though much of the experience was just future-gazing and giving a glimpse into what the ecommerce of tomorrow could look like, the technology is good to go now and people will be able to use it at subsequent PGA events.
Head of Samsung Pay Europe Nathalie Oestmann said earlier this month in an interview that gift cards will give Samsung a unique way to provide customers with offers. She added that Samsung has in-app payments on its roadmap as well as online commerce, saying that “being able to pay online with Samsung Pay is very important.” Whilst Apple Pay does allow customers to pay inside apps using the service, the feature is yet to arrive on Samsung Pay.
Oestmann also said that enabling people to enter a store with their virtual reality headset and browse the store in VR is being considered. Users can then easily click and pick whatever they want to purchase and pay for it inside the VR environment with Samsung Pay. That, when you think of it, seems like a really nice way to discover stores and shops, and if it does happen eventually, it would be something truly unique to Samsung’s VR technology and its payments service.