Which mobile payment model and technology will prevail? The debate rages on with no end in sight. Empower your customers to do it any way they choose, and respond flexibly to emerging consumer demands without engaging in guesswork or waiting for the dust to settle. This series explores the new normal and how you can maintain and gain wallet share by empowering your customers through the mobile payments revolution.

As customer buying behavior evolves, keeping track of new technologies – and figuring out where to play – may seem daunting.  In truth, catering to a variety of consumer preferences is easier than you think. Making purchasing easier for customers with mobile payment and plastic cards options will improve the customer experience, ultimately positioning you ahead of the competition.

Mobile Wallets: More to Unfold

Mobile phones have emerged as the ubiquitous, always-on device.  According to a recent TIME Mobility Poll, 84 percent of people say they couldn’t go a single day without their mobile device, and 75 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds even sleep with their phones.  Meanwhile, consumers increasingly trust secure smartphone technology to complement payment and store-specific loyalty cards, continuing the trend toward convergence.  Harris Polls states that 44 percent of smartphone users are interested in using their smartphones to process in-person payments.  As that number grows, mobile wallet technologies like ISIS, Google Wallet and Apple’s Passbook are pushing mobile wallets closer to the mainstream.

Smartphones have become extensions of their owners – and they know us very well. As companies take greater advantage of GPS location, social network and search data, consumers will come to expect the highly personalized interactions and transactions that result.

Plastic Cards: The Quintessential Credential

While the emergence of mobile wallets may be the next big thing, their usage will likely overlap plastic cards – not overtake them. The way people pay is deeply entrenched behavior – new methods can improve the experience, but tried and true payment methods don’t just disappear.  Take paper checks for example. They’ve been out of vogue for decades, yet still represent 22 percent of non-cash payments.  We can expect a similarly long period of overlap in the evolution of plastic and mobile payments.

It all whittles down to the simple fact that consumers demand choice, not only in goods and services, but also in how they pay for them.  In an era of infinite options, one-size-fits-all doesn’t.  To satisfy the masses, businesses need to change how they think about traditional and mobile wallets, and cater to both. For more on this topic, visit Datacard Edge next week.  We’ll be delving in to tips for developing your mobile commerce roadmap.

How has mobile technology impacted your consumer experiences?  Tell us about it with a comment.

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