Nobody said it would be easy. Changing the way consumers pay takes time and isn’t always successful. Mobile wallet apps accounted for $500 million worth of sales transactions in 2012, according to Berg Insight. This represents a very small segment of all the credit and debit card transactions, but is expected to grow quickly.

Berg Insight also projects that mobile wallet transactions will hit $35 billion by 2017. If this number is reached it would still only represent a fraction of all transactions, still this type of predicted growth shows considerable consumer interest in the technology.

There are a lot of big names that are investing in this technology; however, a very surprising number of the mobile wallet transactions came from one place: Starbucks. The company has been a pioneer in these transactions and is proving that this can work.

Apple released the Passbook app in the fall of 2012 and has seen a growing number of digital gift cards added by users. The number of retailers accepting Google Wallet continues to rise.

Right now there is no clear leader in mobile payments and one might not emerge for some time. Big names like Google, Apple, Square, PayPal, and Isis among others are navigating these uncharted waters. There are considerable barriers to overcome including convincing people mobile wallets are easier to use than swipe cards and can be much more convenient than storing multiple cards in a wallet. Outfitting NFC technology in mobile phones and getting retailers and restaurant operators on board to accept these types of transactions at a somewhat proportionate rate is a significant challenge to broad adoption as well.