There is no question about it, the way people pay for things is fundamentally changing. When it comes to mobile payments, 2011 was the year that the major players began marshalling their forces. Partnerships were forged, baselines of technology were established. In 2012, the ecosystem will deploy its innovations, testing the market to see how it will react.

That brings us to the most important question regarding mobile payments in 2012: does Near Field Communications (NFC) have a legitimate future? Shaking the Magic 8 Ball, the answer remains, “answer cloudy, ask again later.”