Don’t believe the hype prophesying the death of plastic as smartphones with e-wallets take over. According to Juniper Research, only one in five smartphones will have an NFC chip by 2014, or 300 million devices. Half of these are expected to ship in the US and about one million will be sold in France this year, the research firm says. That’s an improvement over Juniper’s 2009 forecast calling for one-to-six ratio by 2014.

It’s kinda depressing knowing that we’ll have to stick with plastic for a few more years. The report goes on to note that the biggest story in NFC will be targeted deals via coupons rather than wireless transactions per se. Apple, of course, probably wants a piece of the action as they’re rumored to be developing a disruptive e-wallet solution for future iPhones.

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The Apple rumor mill is predicting an NFC-equipped iPhone by the year’s end. Apple’s advantage in the wireless payment industry, should they compete, is the iTunes billing backend and the more than 200 million iTunes Store accounts with credit cards enabled for one-click purchasing.

“Amazon doesn’t publish their numbers, but it’s very likely this is the most accounts with credit cards anywhere on the Internet,” Jobs said at the iPad 2 unveiling. It will be anything but easy, though. Apple and other Silicon Valley players also face tough competition from carriers that would admittedly love to handle millions of mobile transactions.

Then there are credit card issuers – they already have relations with end-users and will not allow third-parties to own their customers. Finally, merchants – also credit card companies’ clients – need to deploy new terminals to handle mobile payments, meaning Apple would need to cut deals with top merchants in order to push its rumored NFC solution into mainstream.

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