There are three things most of us grab every day before we leave home – our wallet, our keys and our smart phones.

Of those three things, our wallets tend to be the bulkiest, stuffed with a variety of credit and debit cards, a handful of loyalty or rewards cards, and perhaps a few gift cards.

The benefit provided by a mobile wallet is being able to get rid of all of those bulky cards by carrying them digitally in our smart phones instead.

The three major digital wallets are Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. Between the three of these, virtually everyone with a modern smart phone in the United States or Canada should be able to make mobile payments using their phones today.

And, you would think that virtually everyone of these people would want to do that in order to avoid carrying a bulky wallet and having to fumble through it to find the cards they need at any given time at the cash register.

But, according to a 2015 Accenture survey report, only 18% of North American consumers make mobile payments on a regular basis.

One of the key reasons for this low level of usage is that US retailers have been slow to implement the hardware change to the new EMV chip and pin POS terminals that include NFC (Near Field Communication) technology.

NFC technology is required in order for most mobile payment apps, including Apple Pay and Android Pay, to allow the smart phone to communicate with the terminal when in close proximity. This short-term impediment to mobile payments use, however, has been partially overcome by the recent introduction of Samsung Pay.

Like Apple Pay or Android Pay, Samsung Pay uses NFC technology to communicate with the new EMV POS terminals. However, it has the added advantage of also being able to work with existing magnetic stripe POS terminals using their MST (magnetic secure transmission) technology that mimics the magnetic stripe on physical cards when placed close to the terminal.

So, if you are a US retailer who is not yet planning on investing in the new POS hardware required to implement an EMV solution, you might be able to provide an improved customer experience in the meantime by accepting Samsung Pay.

However, given that 50% of smart phone usage in the US is now Apple iPhone, according to a 2015 survey from Mobile Payments Today, you might be able to provide an even better customer experience if you upgrade your POS terminals sooner rather than later, so you can also offer your customers Apple Pay.

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