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So Where Does NFC Fit into Mobile Payments?

On a slow news day today in the world of payments, we noticed an interesting juxtaposition between a commentary titled "Back in the real world (well, West London)" that Consult Hyperion's Dave Birch posted about paying with PayPal at The Farmery frozen yoghurt shop in West London and an article by PayPal's CEO David Marcus on Huffington Post titled "So Long Cash Register, Hello Innovation".

Dave told the story about paying for for his yoghurt purchase using PayPal on his iPhone linking to The Farmery's PayPal Here app on their iPhone. Dave went on to say that "PayPal have made a real effort to produce a slick customer experience, and it makes you wish that other more conventional players in the retail payment world would do the same. There seems to be an attention to detail in what guys like this do, to be honest."

Dave is then compelled to ask: "Is it better than NFC?" He answers: "Yes it is better than NFC is, but it's not better than NFC could be." He goes on to describe how that better NFC experience might work: "Instead of opening my PayPal application, finding the shop and checking in, I could have just tapped the phone on the PayPal Here logo and had all three steps done for me." But, alas, it doesn't work that way today - in spite of "years of work and hundreds of millions in investment."

Meanwhile, PayPal's Marcus describes another version of the future - one that "can easily and cost-effectively transform a legacy cash register into an interactive point of sale solution that makes it easier to operate a business and adds to a truly enjoyable consumer experience rather than a mundane transaction."

Where do you think NFC fits into mobile payments? Feel free to add your comment below.

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