Contactless payments are expected be a dominant method for purchasing goods and services if investment trends continue.
This is the forecast according to research firm Ovum, who believe the necessary systems are now developed enough to see these applications roll out in the near future. The progress is worth noting for those in IT jobs, as a support network will need to evolve to facilitate its growth.
Dubbed 'proximity payments', they use similar technology to current payment methods payWave and PayPass. However, instead of relying on a credit or EFTPOS card, these new payment systems will use smartphones or smartwatches, offering a greater degree of convenience to users.
Ovum believes that businesses who don't invest in the supporting networks for proximity payments risk missing the boat as the trend gathers momentum.
"Careful navigation will still be necessary as new payment standards continue to be developed and innovation will begin to flourish – however those that invest early and wisely will reap significant rewards in the not too long term," said Practice Leader for Ovum Financial Services Kieran Hines.
There are a few providers for the service that are all equally poised to capitalise on the growing infrastructure. Apple Pay is already available on iPhone, with the smartwatch variant expected to release in the first half of this year.
The service allows users to use their phone in place of normal credit cards, offering a one touch payment that promises high levels of security by using the device's fingerprint scanner.
Not be outdone, industry rivals Samsung are preparing their rival app, Samsung Pay. Theirs operates on the same principle, with smart devices replacing cards to provide contactless payment options.
Finally, Host Card Emulation allows for existing cards to be replicated on a smartphone or other device. The technology has the support of Google, who released support for it in the KitKat update for Android devices.
As the software is still in the early stages of its life cycle, proximity payments will require further development before completely taking over from current payment methods