News & Resources

Smart device boom supports payments industry

Mar 30, 2013 Dave King

In order for mobile payments use to become commonplace, the technology must exist to support it. Fortunately for app developers, the market for smartphones and tablets is not showing any sign of slowing down, and new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) confirms this fact.

According to the IDC's Smart Connected Device Tracker, growth has been significant for the mobile device industry in the past year. Worldwide shipments of smart devices rose by just over 29 percent year-over-year in 2012, making for 1 billion units sent out. In total, these technologies were valued at $576.9 billion, the source said.

The organization noted that tablets are currently one of the most significant drivers of growth, with shipments increasing by nearly 80 percent. In addition, the study found that smart devices are catching on in emerging markets, with smart connected device volume rising 41.3 percent. Mature markets saw more modest growth at 15.6 percent. However, PC shipments decreased in this sector, which could indicate that for some consumers, smartphones and tablets are taking over as their main portal to the internet and, as a result, ecommerce too is becoming more popular.

Going mainstream
Considering optimistic signs like this, it comes as little surprise that mobile app developers are pushing harder than ever before to raise the adoption of their products. With so many people owning devices, they certainly have a large potential audience already established. LevelUp recently announced that it has partnered with Heartland Payment Systems to encourage further use of its solutions among merchant customers, in addition to consumers.

"The biggest challenge facing mobile payment companies right now is scale," said Chris Mahl, LevelUp's chief revenue and strategy officer. "LevelUp has been able to reach 1 million users and 5,000 merchants relatively quickly, but we need even wider consumer and merchant adoption before LevelUp hits the mainstream."

Additionally, Mahl told Mobile Payments Today that the company, which launched in 2011, processes around $5 million each month. In order to boost these figures while helping merchants provide progressive, convenient payments options, the business said in a statement that, along with Heartland, it will absorb 25 percent of development costs in the implementation of a customized white-label mobile payment and loyalty app for retailers. Organizations should take note of LevelUp's leap of faith - along with growing mobile adoption, updating transactional technologies may support growth in new ways.

And of course, merchants need to protect their customers. LevelUp and Heartland explained that their systems include end-to-end encryption, which helps maintain the security of customers' financial information. Loss of personal data can result in identity theft, which sometimes damages consumer credit reports. If retailers take care to offer safe payment tools, the profits may follow.