Mobile payments have continued to show growth and acceptance within the past several years and have now become a leader within the payments industry. Many consumers are beginning to incorporate their smartphone devices to make payments instead of using traditional cash or a credit card. Due to the advances of digital technology, mobile payments are necessary more than ever. Mobile wallets, mobile apps, and digital loyalty programs are changing the way consumers make payments with their smartphones and have expanded the usage of near field communication (NFC) and Bluetooth to process mobile payments.

 

As we enter 2017, let’s take a further look at some of the top mobile payment trends expected to flourish throughout this year:

 

Digital Assistants Take Over

Digital assistants are one form of technology that will enhance the connections between consumers and their mobile device during 2017. Apple’s Siri, is one leading digital assistance that works via voice recognition and can talk back at users. Siri also has the ability to place phone calls, send text messages, and make travel arrangements.

 

Google recently joined the digital assistant’s trend with “Google Assistant”, which in essence, is a virtual assistant that is capable of interacting with consumers. Google describes its assistant as:

 

“The assistant is conversational - an ongoing two-way dialogue between you and Google that understands your world and helps you get things done. It makes it easy to buy movie tickets while on the go, to find that perfect restaurant for your family to grab a quick bite before the movie starts, and then help you navigate to the theater."

 

Not only are these digital assistants convenient and hands-free, but also are extremely useful at providing information within seconds to the busy consumer. These technologies will further support user dependency on mobile devices as consumers continue to interact with their smartphones on a new personal level.

 

Growth of Loyalty Rewards
Another major trend involving mobile payments is the integration of loyalty rewards. Samsung Pay recently announced the introduction of Samsung Rewards, a mobile-based loyalty program where users will receive points for each Samsung Pay transaction and can redeem points accrued for retailer gift cards or toward Samsung Visa gift cards and products.

 

"Innovations like Samsung Rewards are giving consumers a real incentive to embrace Samsung Pay. We are seeing that people are more likely than ever before to try mobile payments,” said Nana Murugesan, vice president and general manager of services at Samsung.

 

Currently, neither Apple Pay nor Android Pay have a loyalty rewards program, but this could all change by the end of 2017.

 

IoT On the Rise

The Internet of things (IoT) is taking over as payments and physical devices begin to merge for a seamless experience. Beacons and Geolocation have begun to offer consumers a frictionless experience in-stores through a variety of methods. Retailers are using beacon technology to send customers’ reward points, coupons, or personalized messages as they enter their store. In fact, a study by Swirl discovered that 73 percent of consumers that received a promotional message through a beacon were more influenced to make a purchase in-stores. Not only do beacons boost traffic and sales but also gather valuable analytics for retailers regarding in-store activity.

 

Geolocation could also reshape the relationship between consumers and retailers to a different level. Going hand in hand with beacons, geolocation uses consumers actual location has the capability to send promotions, coupons, and local offers to customers directly via their mobile device. This technology could be a huge influencer in marketing to consumers and help enhance the customer experience in-stores as well.

 

With mobile payments continuing to make progress, 2017 is expected to be a year where new trends emerge and former technologies continue to rise in popularity. Digital assistants will go hand in hand with mobile technology and expand the usage of payments. Loyalty programs are also beginning to shift to digital capabilities and integrate within mobile devices. IoT technology and the growth of beacons and geolocation will allow for a seamless experience between consumers and retailers. All of these solutions will help improve the mobile experience within 2017 and further push mobile payment technology adoption.