Mobile payments industry takes massive hit with VeriFone withdrawal

Verifone mobile paymentsThe marketplace is rocked by the shocking news that a major player has dropped out.

The CEO of VeriFone, Doug Bergeron, has stunned the direct-to-micromerchant mobile payments world with the announcement that it is stepping out of that marketplace following unprofitable results from its Sail service.

The point-of sale provider’s mcommerce news came as a surprise to the majority of the industry.

As VeriFone had dedicated a great deal of last year and much of this year on the promotion of the growth of mobile payments services, the decision that the company has now made to remove itself from that direct-to-micromerchant space has caused many heads to spin. The announcement was made during the most recent quarterly conference call.

The CEO released the mobile payments news that the company is stepping down.

During the call, Bergeron stated that Sail, its own mobile payments service, has been unprofitable. This program had been giving small businesses the ability to use smartphones and tablets to accept transactions through debit and credit cards. He said that “Customer acquisition costs, either through search engines or TV advertising, cannot and will never justify the razor thin margins produced by merchants with infrequent volumes and extremely high attrition.”

The NFC technology community has also been left blinking in surprise, as it had been looking toward that company to propel forward its adoption, particularly after the iPhone 5 was released without its capabilities.

Bergeron described the mobile payments program at VeriFone as a failure and is now causing many of the other players in the industry to take a second look at their own potential for profitability. This is particularly the case after the CEO questioned the ability of the environment to be profitable at all. The company has announced that all of its assets from that space will now be sold off.

He explained that he felt it is possible to see similar thoughts among the competition as their businesses models are shifted toward wallets services. It is his belief that the only mobile payments players who will be able to survive “this fundamentally challenging business model” will be those who are capable of offering micro merchants other services, as well.

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