eMarketer Expects U.S. Mobile Payments to Break $1 Billion Barrier This Year

eMarketer Expects U.S. Mobile Payments to Break $1 Billion Barrier This YearNotwithstanding the slower than expected growth observed this year, proximity mobile payments will still top $1 billion in the United States for 2013, according to the latest figures from eMarketer.

This year’s milestone is the anticipated precursor to mobile payments reaching $58 billion by 2017.

eMarketer defines mobile payments as transactions for goods or services made by scanning, tapping, swiping or checking in with a mobile phone at the point of sale. Often characterized as a proximity or contactless payment, mobile payments occur in real time in the real world, and are functionally different than mobile commerce—the purchase of digital or physical goods on a mobile device.

“Driven by consumers buying items like daily coffee via closed-loop payment systems, as well as an increase in bigger-ticket purchases made via smartphones,” eMarketer reports, “mobile payment transactions more than tripled from 2011 to 2012 in the US, reaching $539 million that year.”

Despite the ongoing lofty predictions, the market continues to grow at a weaker-than-anticipated rate. Consequently, eMarketer has admittedly scaled back estimates of user adoption and transaction value from their fall 2012 projections.

A host of hitches and other setbacks facing multiple mobile wallet initiatives – not to mention the “congested landscape” of competing technologies – have changed eMarketer’s outlook on mobile payment transaction values.

Based on the revised numbers, mobile payments will not top $20 billion until 2016. Last October, eMarketer believed that milestone would be reached as early as 2015.