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News: mobile and wearable payments set to reach $100 billion by 2018

In just a couple of years, we will be making more than three times the mobile and wearable payments made in 2015 and that watches and wristbands are at the forefront of contactless wearables.

The news comes courtesy of Juniper Research, which estimates that contactless payments will grow from just under $35 billion globally in 2015 to an incredible $95 billion by 2018.

Despite the rise of wearables, of watch Apple Watch devices account for up to 10 million by most estimates, the majority of wireless payments can be attributed to smartphones. Juniper reckons that wearable devices will make up not more than 2 percent of non-card payments by 2018.

Wearable Payments

Two percent isn’t a huge amount by any stretch of the imagination, but perhaps suggests that small items like transport tickets and items at the 7-11 may be more palatable to smartwatch wearers, with the wearers preferring to pay via smartphone for larger purchases.

Despite the small number of wireless payments attributed to wearables, that still means $1.9 billion spent via wearable devices. Furthermore, if the credit card companies aggressively strike deals with wearable technology firms, the actual figures could be substantially higher than the estimates suggest.

In just a couple of years, NFC capabilities should be pretty standard for the majority of wearables, even those primarily used for fitness and other purposes.

Wearable Payments

One of the report’s authors, Nitin Bhas, pointed out that “Apple’s entry into NFC gave the industry a much-needed boost, and could well be seen as the tipping point for the technology”.

On the flip side, Bhas noted that Apple’s interest in the sector could sound the death knell for networks being denied a chunk of the money from mobile and wearable payments.

By Roland Banks

Roland Banks has been passionate about mobile technology for the past 20 years. He started his career at British Telecom's research division working on collaborative virtual reality environments, before becoming a video streaming specialist at 3 UK where he helped launch some of the world's first mobile video services. More recently he enjoys writing about his obsession, and developing software that helps mobile operators analyse their subscriber data.

Roland has lived in Asia for the past 5 years, and tries to indulge his other passion for riding motorcycles whenever possible.

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