Will Payments Apps Become Next-Gen Local Directories?

Despite all the activity and hype in the segment, mobile payments and mobile wallets have been adopted by relatively few consumers in North America to date. It's well below 10% of the smartphone population according to data I've seen. Lack of availability, lack of awareness and consumer security fears are among the reasons.

Despite slow consumer adoption of mobile payments, companies such as Square, PayPal and Intuit are making major inroads on the merchant side. For example, Square is processing millions of dollars of payments per day at local businesses.

Its main product relies on a traditional card swipe, so the consumer does nothing new and needs no new apps or equipment. PayPal and Intuit have essentially copied Square's product. In particular PayPal's brand awareness and footprint have helped the company generate significant, immediate demand for the new PayPal Here product. 

These and other mobile payments apps (e.g., Levelup) include directories of merchants using their payments systems. It leads me to think these payments apps could become the next generation of LBS or local directory apps. It's natural for them to try and build out more comprehensive local listings, as well as get more deeply into offers and deals (not to mention analytics and CRM). 

It also makes sense for a company like Foursquare, which already has a large user footprint, to acquire or create a mobile payments capability itself -- as a complement to its positioning as a loyalty tool for SMB marketers.