Mobile payments catch on slowly

- It's as simple as taking a picture of your credit card with your phone then using your phone to pay, but are people actually using mobile payments like Apple Pay? Not as many as you might think.

Chris Ciaccia, technology editor at The Street (www.thestreet.com), says when Apple Pay was announced last fall, people were expecting it to become this giant service overnight, but that hasn't exactly happened.

Ciaccia sees Apple Pay as the dominant player in the mobile payment space, which includes Google Wallet and Samsung Pay (due out in the U.S. next month).

He says Apple hasn't released many statistics about its users, but earlier this year the company said more than a million credit cards are linked to Apple Pay.

Apple Pay is now available at hundreds of thousands of retailers, including big brands Macy's and McDonald's.

While at least a million cards linked to Apple Pay may sound like a lot, more than half a billion Visa, MasterCard, and American Express cards are in use in the U.S. last year, according to creditcards.com.

Right now, the mobile payment players have cornered just a fraction of that market.

One of the problems, according to Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at creditcards.com, is that Apple Pay's biggest mountain to climb is making it available in more places. He believes it's taking off slowly because you just can't use it everywhere.

Mobile payments are also a big change in people's spending habits. Ciaccia says consumers are always resistant to change when it comes to their payments and financial history, but he believes as they become more comfortable using the technology and see it working in stores, they'll use it more.

From a security standpoint, switching from plastic to mobile payments may be a smart move. Using Apple Pay creates a one-time authorization number that only the retailer and Apple see, making it harder for hackers to get credit card information. Even if a hacker is able to break through, customers are still protected in the same ways they would be if they used their plastic credit card.

A new player was supposed to enter the mobile payment space this month: CurrentC, developed by a group of big box stores like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. Instead of linking to your credit card, it connects with your bank account. But CurrentC has had some issues with hacking and technology, and its parent company just announced you won't likely see it until next year.

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