Changing the Mobile Payment Mindset

How many times have you been faced with this decision: you’re looking at two options of an item to buy. It could be a sweater, a pair of shoes, or even a DVD player. You can’t tell much of a difference between the two, except that one has a lower price tag.

In your head, you know that the less expensive option is of lower quality, and therefore, the length of time that it will last you is risky. Even though we know this in the back of our minds, we are able to rationalize these lower quality purchases by the fact that these items aren’t that important to us. If this DVD player breaks, it was only $30, right?

We always like to get the most out of our money, so taking chances on less important items are a low risk, high reward scenario. Although, when I bought my $30 DVD player and it broke a couple months later, I was nonetheless disappointed! However, when we’re buying important items, like a new car or appliance, we’re less likely to take these risks. Since these are high risk, high cost items, we’re more likely to do our research and throw in a few extra bucks to make sure it lasts. It might not be a big deal to buy another sweater, but it certainly would be to buy another car.

I’ve been relating this concept to the mobile payments industry lately. It’s an exciting time for this type of technology: major cities and operators are implementing it left and right. However, as the demand becomes higher for cities to provide this technology to their residents and visitors, it seems the value of this technology is getting lost in translation.

Investing in a new mobile payments system that is of poor quality, not received well by the public, or provided from a company with an unsustainable business model can’t be compared to an investment in a $30 sweater. Unfortunately, some operators are treating it as just that.

With the amount of time that cities invest in the vendor selection process, especially through requests for proposals and the launch of a new service, this type of technology should be an important investment. However, it’s like cities have mobile payment companies in each of their hands at the store, wondering if they can “get away” with the lower quality option. Unfortunately, cities will find themselves in a similar position I was in when I had to purchase a new DVD player. Except this will be harder and messier to fix in the long run.

What if city officials had the same thought process in selecting a mobile payments vendor as they did when buying a new car? I bet they would have a little more consideration in its quality, safety, and sustainability over time. I know I would. That’s why I think that it is so crucial for cities to change their mindsets when it comes to mobile parking payment technology.

Mobile payments are here to stay, so it’s in your best interest to put down that less expensive sweater for something that will last for years to come.