A new report from Juniper Research predicts that more than one in four mobile phone users will use their Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled mobile phone to pay for goods in-store by 2017, compared with less than 2% predicted for 2012. NFC Mobile Payments are also set to exceed $180 billion (£117 billion) worldwide in 2017 as NFC becomes standard.

The report found that, while mobile retail payment services of all types are growing in popularity, the ability to "tap" a NFC phone, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III or the HTC One X against a point of sale (POS) terminal to make a purchase has tremendous user appeal.

For mobile wallet providers and partners, NFC payments also provide new and personalised retail marketing and sales opportunities above and beyond the capabilities of debit or credit cards. NFC payments can also integrate with other NFC applications, such as ticketing.

The report warns, however, that NFC retail payments services must be deployed with a fully integrated and tested customer care channel. NFC payments are a complex fusion of mobile, financial and retail technology; a single point of contact to take responsibility for resolving a problem quickly and efficiently must be established or users will desert the service.

According to report co-author Dr Windsor Holden, "NFC retail payments are still at an early stage, but hold great promise. In 2011 we saw significant strides made within the ecosystem such as the launch of Google Wallet, the announcements of more mobile wallet consortia and the supply of an increasing number of NFC-enabled smartphone models. NFC is now impacting the public consciousness and we expect a rapid market expansion from 2012 onwards."