MEX Notes: Video of PayPal's NFC payment experience

  • Video of PayPal's NFC payment experience – This article includes a video demonstration of two users exchanging money from their PayPal accounts by touching together their NFC-equipped Android phones. What do you think of the user experience?

    It is widely assumed that it is only a matter of time (and rollout of NFC-equipped handsets) before this type of 'touch to share' interaction becomes the default method for mobile payments. However, I remain skeptical. Imagine the same transaction using cash: one user simply hands the other a $10 bill. The exchange is more tangible, more tactile and physically easier to execute (touching two phones with slippery plastic backs is actually quite difficult). This is the benchmark against which users will subconsciously measure this experience.

    Also, it is important to remember money is an emotive subject. The etiquette surrounding its use, particularly when paying someone face-to-face, varies considerably throughout the world. Will the physical proximity required for a 'touch to share' interaction make users uncomfortable?

    A forthcoming MEX Pathway will explore the user experience of short-range wireless interactions, looking at payments and other applications. I'd love to hear from any of you with thoughts on this subject.

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