A new report from Juniper Research predicts that the number of consumers using NFC contactless payment services will jump to 516 million by the end of 2019, a more than five-fold increase from 101 million today.
The report argued that Apple’s introduction of an NFC-based payment mechanism — Apple Pay — would stimulate the wider marketplace, helping to address the key challenges of contactless awareness and acceptance.
At the same time, the report ‘NFC Mobile Payments: Apple Pay, Host Card Emulation & SIM Based Opportunities & Forecasts 2014-2019’ observed that NFC solutions utilising HCE (Host Card Emulation) were steadily gaining traction within the banking sector. It said that several — including BBVA and Bankinter in Spain and CUA in Australia — had already launched commercial services, with pilot schemes in operation in countries such as Russia and New Zealand.
However, the report pointed out that both these developments threatened the opportunity within NFC for MNOs (mobile network operators). With Apple Pay, the secure element is embedded on the handset and controlled by Apple; with HCE, the SE (secure element) no longer has to be physically present in the handset, again removing the requirement for MNO involvement.
According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, “We would envisage that while NFC deployments and consumer activity will be buoyed by these developments, the opportunities for network operator involvement are limited. Hence we are likely to see more operators re-evaluating their existing commitments to NFC and possibly withdrawing from the space.”
The report also maintains that:
- by the end of the decade, three-quarters of the world’s smartphones will contain an NFC controller chip; and
- most retailers remain unclear as to the tangible benefits of NFC, which include improved customer retention and loyalty opportunities.