Tesco: NFC payments are too complex and offer too few benefits
"NFC was revolutionary 10 years ago but I think it just might have passed its sell-by date", the retail giant's Lyndon Lee told attendees at a mobile payments conference in London this week. "We are developing a digital wallet, focusing on marketing and loyalty aspects, but payment may not enter the wallet."
"There is limited value and an increasing number of players which is making it difficult," Lee, who leads projects on mobile payments, fraud management and identity and access management, explained.
"Is mobile NFC at the right place, at the right time? I don't see any real movement or activity. NFC usability is not really revolutionary and, for the general public, is it really that cool? I think the next generation won't think it's cool enough for them and they won't use it.
"But this is my opinion. NFC was revolutionary 10 years ago but I think it just might have passed its sell-by date. Usability is a big question and we need to crack this.
"At Tesco, we focus entirely on the consumer relationship. We are developing a digital wallet, focusing on marketing and loyalty aspects, but payment may not enter the wallet. We have a payment system in place already and we don't want to disrupt it if it doesn't add any value.
"If it doesn't give us any value to adopt it, why should we do it?"
In an interview with NFC World following his presentation, Lee said: "Mobile NFC is unappealing. Contactless cards, I have no doubt about. They work now and they have no difficulties, but mobile NFC is very challenging and not easy."
"As it stands, there are no official plans for NFC," he said. "Existing players ask the question, do we really want all the complication of mobile NFC? It has too little value to be shared and I find it hard to believe that it will really take off.
"Contactless cards are already there and they already have value. Mobile NFC payments have no value to us; it has lack of consumer experience and it is too complicated so I don't see a future. It is a very stagnant market."