There's a lot to be excited about in mobile payments, or "emerging payments," as others call the evolving industry. After all, its not just about paying for things with your mobile phone. Consumers taking advantage of the PayPal/Discover partnership will still have the option of paying with a credit card, according to Bloomberg. The idea of a credit card that says PayPal on it may be even more threatening to Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) than any theoretical technological innovation that is sure to be riddled with bugs in its early stages.
But it is the technology, one suspects, that has many investors salivating. The way we pay for goods and services in stores seems antiquated in many respects, and there's no doubt big changes are coming. But the technology is at such an early stage, and there are so many potential new competitors and partnerships being contemplated, it is far too difficult to try and figure out who the winners are going to be. In the meantime, CEOs in the retail, financial services or technology industries hoping to pump up their companies' shares would be well advised to announce an emerging payments partnership as soon as possible.
-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.
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