It's getting crowded in the mobile and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments space.
A wide range of companies are trying to position themselves for the expected growth in this industry. The analyst firm In-Stat, for example, expects the mobile payments space to grow 10x over the next 5 years. Their forecast is not out of line with what other analyst firms are saying.
Here are a few of the companies entering, planning to enter or expanding their efforts in this area:
PayPal: With close to 100 million users and adding over 1 million new users a day, PayPal is one of the clear leaders in this space. Their growth has been impressive and it shows no signs of slowing. For more PayPal's plans, take a look at the slides from a recent eBay Analyst Briefing.
Visa: The credit card giant recently announced a new service that will allow U.S. Visa card holders to send and receive funds from other Visa cardholders anywhere in the world. Details are a bit sketchy - no mention of fees, for example - but this move makes it clear Visa is serious about the P2P payments space.
Google: The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is teaming up with Master Card and Citibank to embed Near Field Communications (NFC) technology into the Android operating system. This would allow Android phones equipped with NFC chips to act as payments devices. For more on NFC and mobile payments, see our post on this topic.
Facebook: Not a lot of public information on Facebook's plans, but Venture Beat reports that Facebook has formed a payments subsidiary and seems to have big plans. One of their goals appears to be driving more ecommerce business.
Apple: Already a leader in the payments space because of the iTunes and App Stores, Apple has long been rumored to be adding NFC capabilities to their iPhones. The secretive Apple has no announced plans in this area and are not expected to release a NFC enabled iPhone this year.
Intuit: A long time leader in merchant and small business payments systems, Intuit's GoPayment system turns smartphones into payments devices. It makes taking credit cards so easy and cheap, even the Girl Scouts are using it. (disclosure: Intuit is an Emergent Research client)
American Express: AMEX recently announced Serve, a PayPal like digital wallet targeted at both AMEX and non-AMEX cardholders.
The Startups: The payments space has an amazing number of startup companies - too many to mention in a blog post. Two that are attracting attention are:
Bling Nation: Gotta love the name, Bling equips retailers and consumers with NFC tags that enable mobile payments.
Square: Provides a system that turns smartphones into credit card payment systems.