In our last blog on NFC payments we looked at some of the challenges of rolling out NFC infrastructure to merchants and consumers. The big headache is upgrading the massive estate of existing POS terminals, cash registers, and other retail systems to interact with contactless payments technology. This challenge is part of the reason why many NFC initiatives are in pilot. Whether or not your iPhone comes with NFC built-in any time soon is less of an issue than getting the merchant to be able to accept these new contactless transactions. The other part of the conundrum is encouraging usage. A criticism leveled at NFC is that there’s no need for it. There isn’t enough data yet to suggest whether the convenience benefit is significant enough to encourage consumer adoption. At low transaction values, contactless payments offer a viable alternative to cash which is probably its most compelling feature for now. There’s also talk of contactless being ‘cleaner’ in an age of bird flu epidemics but that’s certainly not a ‘killer app’ in itself.
We went along to Insomnia Coffee to see Zapa in action demonstrating NFC mobile payments and mobile couponing for loyalty. You can see how it works in this video: