Actually, it seems to me the given certain bounds, contactless technologies can exceed this expectation and deliver an experience that is much better than cash. Paying with an offline contactless product (such as a prepaid card) is quicker than paying with notes and coins (even without having to wait for change) and the fact that a mobile phone can manage “cash” for you is transformational, since we know that one of the key factors in driving up the adoption of prepaid products is the ready availability of balance information.
I tend to think, therefore, that bringing contactless technology into the payments space will do more than make credit and debit card use more convenient. It may well have much more of an impact by driving a wider range of prepaid products into the market and and driving a more significant displacement of cash than either magnetic stripe or chip & PIN have achieved.
I’m actually going to give a talk on this topic at the International Payments Summit in London from 11th-14th May 2009. I’ll be speaking on Tuesday 12th in the afternoon and I’m really looking forward to a great session. I’ll be on after Forum friend Roy Vella from RBS, who is a great speaker so it’ll be a tough gig, but I’ll do my best to explain the likely business impact of contactless and NFC technologies using some examples from around the world.
In an action of undiluted charity, the splendid people at Informa have not only offered a 15% discount to readers of this blog (e-mail me for the discount code) but they have also given me a delegate pass for the event — worth an astounding TWO THOUSAND BRITISH POUNDS plus VAT, now only 15% — to give away on this blog as a competition prize. So if you are going to be in London on those dates and you’d like to come along to hear some of the leaders in the field discussing how to deliver value for business in a challenging environment, then all you have to do is be the first person to respond to this post with the name of the person who appeared on the Bank of England’s 300th anniversary £50 note in 1994.
In the traditional fashion, this competition is open to all except for employees of Consult Hyperion and members of my immediate family, is void where prohibited and is virtually fat-free. The prize must be claimed within three months. Oh, and no-one can win more than one of the Digital Money Blog prizes per calendar year.
These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]