We will be making triple the mobile and wearable payments we made last year by 2018. That's if you believe the latest estimates from Juniper Research that see contactless payments rising from less than $35 billion worldwide in 2015 to a massive $95 billion in 2018.
Of course, despite the nine or ten million Apple Watches that are probably now in the wild, smartphones account for most of that. Juniper predicts that wearables will not account for more than 2% of non-card payments "by value" in 2018.
This seems low but it might also indicate that people feel more comfortable paying for small items and tube fares with a smartwatch but not bigger purchases.
So, 2% of $95 billion is still $1.9 billion that the research firm reckons we will be spending via wearables. That doesn't sound quite as impressive as the topline figure but depending on how quickly MasterCard, Visa et al can form partnerships with hot wearable tech startups, this could be a conservative guess for 2018.
By then, NFC payments could be a standard feature on most wearables that are built and designed for another purpose: fitness, alerts, safety etc.
The report's co-author Nitin Bhas also noted that "Apple's entry into NFC gave the industry a much needed boost, and could well be seen as the tipping point for the technology."
That said, Bhas also sees that Apple's interest could be a "death knell" for the networks that are being cut out of the money to be made in mobile and wearable payments.
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