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Mobile payments offer banks relational capital

Oct 17, 2013 Dave King

Mobile payments offer banks relational capital

After a slow start, it seems that mobile payments are poised to finally become an integral option for consumers when making purchases. While the electronic payment channel comes in many forms - from consumer-friendly apps to less-than-trendy near-field communications (NFC) - its increasing popularity seems to be leaving behind one segment of traditional payment purveyors: banks.

According to Forbes, financial institutions have yet to jump on the payment channel for a number of reasons. For example, the news source notes that mobile payments do not offer the clear path to generating revenue the way that credit and debit cards do. As a result, they have stuck with their tried-and-true methods.

"Banks have been sitting there on legacy services and haven't upgraded," said Mark Schwanhausser, director of multi-channel financial services at Javelin, as quoted by Forbes. "Right now they have to recognize how fast the whole mindset is changing. They have to adapt to providing services not only in mobile, but then they have use what they learn in mobile to reinvent and invigorate their online service."

However, Schwanhausser pointed out that mobile payments options provide a different form of return on investment than financial institutions are used to. Rather than monetary gains, mobile payments offer relational capital - providing a convenient service to customers for little to no extra costs - and bank loyalty in an age where individuals are less than happy with these institutions could be worth its weight in gold.

A recent article from Business News Daily pointed out that banks aren't the only institutions hesitating when it comes to adopting mobile payments. For example, Google Wallet, the company's NFC offering, has still been relegated to the sidelines - available only with certain major carriers.