What if the m-payment, though, shows up on a cellular phone bill instead of a credit card bill? Dufault, for one, doesn't believe this will happen. "[Ultimately], the charges will appear on the credit card associated with that account and, as such, the same credit card protections will apply."
Dufault's point of view is probably the safe bet, but it's not a sure thing. Mcommerce doesn't necessarily have to evolve so that traditional card networks are in the middle of everything.
"Competing initiatives and objectives between emerging payment players (such as Google, Square and PayPal) and traditional constituents (banks, card networks and merchants) has slowed down advancement of mobile transactions," Signorini says. "Much posturing and saber-rattling is occurring, since much is at stake financially for all of these different market players."
According to Signorini, it's not just obvious players, like carriers, who could infringe on the turf of banks and credit card companies, but also major online companies and retailers as well. "Large merchants, such as Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven, and Target, have formed their own initiative (Merchant Exchange), in an effort to at least influence how the market evolves and ensure that their market heft is recognized by these other players," Signorini says.
The other thing that Square, PayPal and Google Wallet could do is drive down the processing fees that merchants pay. But that doesn't mean they'll end up making any money doing so.
"The processing of payments is a loss for Google Wallet. The company has said that they are not interested in becoming a bank," Dufault said. "Rather, Wallet is a great conduit for information and provides Google with a way to better deliver their ads to consumers."
Which points to the main theme often heard in mcommerce cirlces: In order to succeed, mcommerce should focus not on transactions, per se, but on customer engagement.
The Secret Sauce of the Mobile Channel: Engagement
Try this some afternoon. Walk in to a Best Buy store, scrutinize some high-ticket item, such as a gigantic flat-screen TV, and then see what the nearby sales associates do. Chances are their already surly attitudes will become more so.
Why? Because Best Buy--and, to be fair, many retailers--are worried about something they call "showrooming," or consumers using their stores as a showroom floors to investigate products and then walking right back out to find a better price online.