15
Aug

A number of companies in several industries are now pouring considerable resources into the development and promotion of mobile payment platforms. Now, an industry group has convened some top executives from those firms for a new committee.

Many well-known companies are now represented on the Electronic Transactions Association's new Mobile Payments Committee, a task force designed to help promote further innovation in that sphere, according to a report from the ETA. Included in the new committee are all four major U.S. cellphone service providers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless), as well as mobile wallet developers, credit card lenders and payment processors.

Big plans
Another goal of the ETA's committee is to create industry-wide solutions to the current problems facing the mobile payment industry, and foster the growth of such payment platforms not only in the U.S., but around the world, the report said. However, the industry group also acknowledges this won't necessarily be easy.

"Mobile payments represent a game-changing business opportunity for our industry, and ETA's mission is to help our member companies succeed in this business," said ETA chief executive officer Jason Oxman. "Our industry must work collaboratively to ensure that the regulatory and business environment promotes innovation and cooperation. As the trade association of the payments industry, ETA is the hub of activity in mobile payments, and our Mobile Payments Committee will help ensure that consumers and merchants have access to an efficient, reliable and secure mobile payments system."

Issues to address
Many experts have pointed out that there are a number of issues that currently preclude the widespread adoption of mobile payment technology, the report said. However, among the core missions of the Mobile Payments Committee is working together to build business relationships that promote interoperability among numerous payment solutions, including between lenders, merchants, mobile networks, processors and equipment manufacturers.

Further, it will look into where there is a need for the industry at large to adopt "best practices" guidelines, the report said. These will help to ensure that all transactions are safe, and all those who want to be able to use mobile payments in their everyday lives will be able to do so as much as possible.

In addition, the group also aims to increase education about the prospects of mobile payment systems in a number of areas, the report said. This includes giving legislators and regulators alike a better idea of how they work so that federal laws can be made to work more smoothly as the technology develops and becomes more prevalent. However, those educational efforts will also be extended to consumers and merchants, who have yet to fully adopt mobile payment solutions.

Who's involved?
Of the many companies involved in the Mobile Payments Committees, apart from the aforementioned cellphone service providers, there are a number of big names from various industries, the report said. That includes the mobile wallet innovators Google and Isis; credit card lenders Capital One, American Express, Discover; card payment processors Visa and MasterCard; mobile payment processors VeriFone and Intuit; analysis firms First Data and Neustar; and tech manufacturer Panasonic. The committee is chaired by Jackie Moran, who is Verizon's executive director of federal relations.

The committee will hold its first official meeting later in August and convene thereafter on a monthly basis, the report said. Following those meetings, it will alert other companies in the mobile payment industry, as well as lawmakers, about possible proposals that have been brought up.

Of course, it's expected that mobile payments won't need a significant amount of help to gain popularity over the next few years. Analysts estimate that by 2016, the industry as a whole will be worth tens of billions of dollars annually. But right now, adoption is relatively slow for two reasons. First, there simply aren't many mobile phones capable of handling mobile wallet transactions, and other similar impediments exist as well. Second, and perhaps more important, is that many consumers are still relatively untrustworthy of the technology. Many believe that it simply isn't as secure as traditional credit card use.

However, experts note that it is significantly safer than swiping a credit card because of the way in which the technology encrypts and protects the payment data for any transaction. Moreover, it's believed that consumers cannot be convinced of this safety in any other way than slow adoption, which will erode fears over the payment method over time.

If you are worried about your finances, you should take more steps to protect them. This should include ordering a copy of your credit report and checking it closely for any unfair markings that may be having an adverse effect on your credit score. If you find any, you may be able to work with a credit repair specialist to get them cleared up.