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Now, I’m not one to gloat, but I have to say I had a twinge of “I told you so” when I saw that Gartner revised its NFC payment volume forecast downward by 40 percent.

I did post in May 2011 (NFC: Just Another Protocol), February 2012 (2012: The Year of NFC Hype) and June 2012 (NFC Accelerates Toward Its Roadblock) that NFC was not going to be the end-all be-all for mobile payments. It looks like time has proven what we’ve been saying for years.

We can’t take all the credit. At last year’s Mobile World Congress (February 2012), 81 percent of the industry leaders we polled said that NFC wouldn’t become a driver of widespread mobile payment adoption for at least 2-to-5 years. Less than 10 percent survey respondents thought NFC payments would become mainstream within the year. The reasons were consumer concerns about security, lack of industry standards and lack of coordination among key stakeholders (banks, operators, etc.).

Gartner’s recent report cites lower-than-expected adoption and payment volume worldwide in 2012, and the lackluster results of high-profile players Google Wallet and Isis as the primary factors for the reduced forecast. Gartner says it expects NFC to account for 2 percent of mobile transactions this year, and just 5 percent by 2017.

That’s not to say NFC is dead. Just that adoption has been,
and will continue to be, slow—at least for the foreseeable future.

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