PayPal's president David Marcus predicted big changes are coming to the payments industry in 2013 in a post on PayPal's blog yesterday. Marcus said that he expected to see the momentum of change and innovation in payments accelerate next year after a number of companies launched innovative payments initiatives this year.
In his post Marcus made four predictions on how that change and innovation will take form in the next year. He gave low marks to the chances that NFC will go anywhere. In fact he predicted that all the noise about NFC will slowly die in the next year. "Is tapping a phone on a terminal any easier than swiping a credit card? I don't think so," Marcus wrote. He also might not be so optimistic about NFC because it would compete with PayPal's cloud-based approach to digital wallets.
Payments will also merge with the loyalty and coupons business in 2013, Marcus said. "The digital wallet must offer more than another way to pay," he explained. "It should get out of your way and let you focus on the things you want most - points or rewards for example." These three businesses will have to converge to offer the customer something more than a payments method if digital wallets are to gain wider adoption, he said.
Marcus also said that he expects big things in the area of mobile point-of-sale solutions, predicting that "the cash register will go mobile." Most transactions in stores are already transmitted over the internet on the back-end, Marcus noted, so it would seem a natural progression for the cash register to go mobile, allowing sales associates to come to the customer in the aisle to fill an order rather than the other way around.
Lastly, Marcus wrote that location-aware and context-driven shopping will begin to have a bigger impact on shopping, and customers' lives in general. We are just starting to see the emergence of solutions that make offers based on the customer's location or other personal data, Marcus said, citing Apple's Passbook as an example. Marcus seems to think that we're only scratching the surface of what can be done in this area.