As we look back at 2014 and forward to 2015, one thing we Googler's can look forward to is more acceptance toward mobile payments at retailers – in no small part, thanks to Apple of all companies. Google and Verizon Softcard (formerly ISIS) have been struggling to get mobile payments off the ground, but retailers seem reluctant until Apple decided to finally give their blessing to the system with their own version called Apple Pay. It is unfortunate that as Apple goes, so do the followers, but at this point, Google welcomes it in Canada if it will get the ball rolling on mobile payments via a smartphone.
The idea of more people using their smartphones, for any purpose, is important to Google's main business – advertising – and mobile payments will help spur such growth. As consumers move away from their desktops and rely more on their mobile devices to pursue the internet, improving mobile advertising is a big focus for Google in 2015 and beyond. Sam Sebastian, managing director of Google Canada said, "We had to pivot our business multiple times over the years but this past year the pivot to mobile was extremely important…Once we figure (mobile advertising) out … it will probably be a much more powerful advertising medium than desktop or anything we've ever seen before". He added that the designers of mobile advertising need to be aware of their target audience…"the idea of what's creepy and what's appropriate is a constantly evolving thing…so finding the right ways to … delight the users and protect their information in a way they're comfortable with, these are the complicated issues of the day."
Mobile payments will still be a growing thing in 2015 as old habits are hard to break – the simple act of reaching for your physical wallet to pull out your credit card did not happen overnight, however, is second nature to us now. Young people who are constantly on their smartphone will be the first to jump at the chance of using it to pay for a purchase, while middle-aged shoppers will feel awkward at first, but will finally join in as retailers make it an easier process. Google's Sebastian also believes that by adding an incentive to use your smartphone, such as a notification popping up at the time of checkout would encourage more use…as long as that "creepy" factor does not get involved.
This is why Google views Apple Pay arriving in Canada as a good thing – the name 'Apple' sparks confidence from users to retailers to credit unions to banks. It will make everybody look at mobile payments in a different light…just as now, larger displays are all the rage – now paying via a smartphone will be Apple's idea. Google is content with them spearheading the idea and letting others, even if it's Apple, promote the idea to help it gain acceptance – Google will be there to make money through its advertising.
Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know if you are looking forward to paying with your smartphone rather than a debit card…as always, we would love to hear from you.