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PayPal chief renews NFC attack; looks beyond payments


David Marcus, PayPal
Richard Handford

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PayPal president David Marcus (pictured) has renewed his company’s criticism of NFC in a blog predicting the four trends in the mobile payments market in 2013.

“The NFC payments debate will slowly die in 2013”, writes Marcus. Is tapping a phone on a terminal no easier than swiping a credit card?, he asks. “I don’t think so – it’s not solving a real consumer problem and it’s not providing additional value to encourage me (or anyone else for that matter) to change my behavior”, he writes.

This is not the first time that an executive from PayPal or its parent eBay has attacked NFC technology. Most memorably, eBay CEO John Donahoe described NFC as standing for “Not For Commerce”.

Elsewhere in the blog, Marcus argues that a digital wallet must offer more than payments by also enabling users to access their loyalty points or rewards. He argues that in 2013, the three areas will “finally merge”.

Also, Marcus says the cash register will go mobile in 2013. Sales staff will roam stores with a tablet on which customers can check out, rather than having to join a queue at a conventional cash till.

The PayPal Here service plays to this particular market by offering a card reader which plugs into tablets and smartphones, and enables roaming sales assistants to process payments.

Finally, Marcus predicts that location-aware shopping and payments will become a reality in 2013. He references Apple’s Passbook app, which although not a wallet in the sense of enabling payments, does enable users to collect tickets and passes in one spot. The concept behind Passbook is that users are presented with the relevant rail ticket or season ticket when they in the location where they need it.

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