Paying for things with a traditional credit card may feel normal today, but what's it going to feel like in 20 years? 30? Will those thin slips of plastic still be around? Mobile payments haven't exactly skyrocketed to mainstream success, particularly in the United States, but it seems that the trends are changing. With Google
Wallet, Isis, Square, NFC and all sorts of other technologies in the mobile payment space finally getting their wings, we could be in for a sea-change that will completely disrupt how we pay for goods. Following news of Starbucks and Square teaming up, the Electronic Transactions Association, the trade association of the global electronic payments industry, today launched its new Mobile Payments Committee. It's a huge group that was likely mighty tough to get on the same page, but now that it's established, you can expect big things to come from it in the future.
The ETA's committee seeks to "guide emerging mobile payments," and all four of the major US carriers are onboard: Sprint, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA and AT&T. The Mobile Payments Committee will develop and implement industry-wide solutions, and they'll do so with the support of Google, Isis, Verizon, Wells Fargo, Capital One, American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, VeriFone, Intuit, First Data, Panasonic and Neustar. That's a rock-star lineup, and it includes just about every company even remotely related to mobile payments. Getting that kind of partnership could mean less fragmentation going forward.
ETA's Mobile Payments Committee will hold its first meeting in late August and hold regular monthly meetings thereafter. It's unclear right now what kind of magic the group hopes to work, but if it can hammer out a widely accepted standard so that every retailer and every consumer is on the same train of thought, that plastic card you know and love may get a lot less use in the coming years.