When they say “the future is mobile”, it´s not an exaggeration. Technology is helping us with the most mundane tasks, such as giving money to a friend or returning money that you owe. The latest to jump on the bandwagon is Snapchat, with Snapcash, although they are not the only ones.
The idea of Snapcash is to make transferring money as easy as possible: it is simply a button in an application where you write the amount and send it to your friends easily. Similar to other messaging applications that can send contacts, locations or attachments, Snapchat decided that money was something that should be included in messages.
Snapcash, though, is not 100% developed by Snapchat: behind them is Square Cash, the solution for small transfers among individuals. With this tool, sending money is as easy as sending an email from your phone or computer, and all without commissions—the only way to convince consumers to use it for small payments.
Google also has something similar with Wallet. Their application allows you to send money to other Wallet users, either from Gmail or from your mobile. And other actors such as Facebook seem as though they are preparing to offer similar things.
Curiously, the company that was the leader in Internet payments, PayPal, is lagging behind in this regard. Yes, you can send money to other people, but it is more oriented to commercial transactions and not as much between individuals.
One of the disadvantages of the payment system among individuals is that whoever offers the service are not the same as who has your money (your bank). That is, in the end these solutions are no more than “patches”, so to speak, that will be complicated to move forward (you only have to see that most have barely left the United States).
Luckily, it seems that this is changing in two ways. First, banks are creating services like Yaap Money, the solution from Santander, Telefonica and La Caixa among others to facilitate small payments between individuals. Just by linking a credit card, the mobile application makes life easier; sending (or asking) money to friends or family who appear in the contact list, who are telephone contacts, facebook friends, or twitter followers.
Moreover, new technology companies are increasingly focusing more on mobile payments. Google, Microsoft and Apple have applications and platforms that allow you to pay with the mobile or even with our smartwatch, through the NFC. And if there comes a time when having money in our mobile is not strange, nor will be transferring money with a touch to our friends or through messaging applications.
The biggest challenge is not technology: that is already ready. The question will be to see the business models that arise from mobile payments. The transfer fees do not seem to be a good alternative. Will the premium models, Square style, triumph? Or will mobile payments be a free commodity thanks to banks and companies in exchange for managing our money?
Image | Snapchat
Image | Yaap
Image | Square