More than 17 million people in the UK are registered for mobile payments, according to UK Finance.
And that number is expected to increase as more consumers see the benefits of using their smartphones for payments rather than carrying cash.
Mobile payments are highly convenient for customers for several reasons.
For one, most people carry their smartphone wherever they go.
And, because you need a customer’s biometric information (fingerprint or facial recognition) to authorise a payment (or log in to their device in the first place), they’re highly secure.
But mobile payments aren’t infallible.
One of the drawbacks has been the reliance on wireless connections – whether through broadband or 4G.
This hasn’t been an issue for the most part, with the majority of the country having access to a reliable connection.
For some, particularly those in rural areas, mobile connections can be a problem.
But with 5G on the horizon, this is set to change.
In this article, portable card machine provider Handepay outlines what 5G connectivity means for the future of mobile payments.
Convenient ‘pay from anywhere’ transactions
About a quarter of the population is expected to use mobile payments by 2025.
These payments are already incredibly popular, but connectivity remains an issue for some customers.
Because mobile payments require connection to either mobile data or WiFi, customers in low connectivity areas can struggle.
5G will create more reliable mobile connections across the country, providing access to ultra fast mobile data that customers can easily use from anywhere.
This will expand the net within which mobile payments can be made and allow customers to pay from anywhere using a mobile device.
Connectivity is one of the last hurdles towards more widespread adoption of mobile payments, and 5G is the boost consumers need to get over it.
More secure payments for businesses and customers
Not only does 5G provide much faster data connectivity, it increases payment security.
Biometric data is already widely used in payments through fingerprint scanners and facial recognition on smartphones.
But all this information requires large amounts of data to work efficiently.
5G creates the bandwidth for this biometric data to be processed quicker, allowing for faster authentication of payments.
This will become more important in the coming years with the increase in two factor authentication, and more customers using wearable technology to make payments.
Increased payment limits for expensive items
While the contactless payment limit for card payments is now £100, making it more accessible for pricier items, it’s still limited for some high value purchases.
Some mobile payment providers have an even bigger payment limit, and some have no limit at all.
As more customers demand to have mobile payments available for big ticket items, 5G will provide the platform on which to build a more reliable payment infrastructure.
Easy integration between payments and shopping experiences
Digital technology is already changing the way consumers buy goods.
From simply browsing catalogues and buying online, to being able to ‘try on’ items virtually using the camera on their phone, the last element of this digital shopping experience is payments.
With high-speed data connections, consumers can shop online, filter product preferences (and create more personalised experiences), try on clothes, virtually view items in their homes and pay for goods within a few minutes.
The right payment technology needs to be at the centre of this experience to be profitable for businesses.
Payment tech will be consumer driven
Ultimately, the future of mobile payments will be driven by consumer demand for better, faster, more convenient ways to pay for goods and services.
We’ve already seen this in the last few years with the rapid adoption of contactless card payments and the rising popularity of paying using an eWallet on a smartphone.
This puts a responsibility onto businesses to stay up to date with payment preferences and ensure they’re adapting to the payment technology customers want to use.
Businesses that continue to dictate how they want customers to pay will only fall further behind.