The mobile wallet is changing everything about consumer payments and our retail experience. For years marketers have talked about changing behavior through “share of mind.” In the consumer financial services space, it’s been “share of wallet.” And now, within the mobile payment industry, that’s changed to “share of digital wallet.” Makes sense. Space is limited in a person’s wallet, so there’s a battle not just for what cards you choose but what form of mobile wallet you will choose…and use.
But wallets are moving to your phone. People are ready, sort of, to change the way they pay. And in the battle for the future of your spending, mobile wallets are slugging it out right now. In fact, American Banker recently noted that the race is far from over. Problem is, until consumers chime in loudly, everything is up in the air. A quick scan of industry e-news reveals dozens of offerings and competitors, including seven (yes, more than you can count on one hand) brands and technology models vying to be the path to success. Yet today’s electronic payments ecosystem, especially in the U.S., has not made mobile wallet introductions easy. The list and field are crowded with platforms and technology: Google Wallet, MasterPass, Apple Passbook, Samsung Wallet, Square, Isis, even one from Mickey — My DisneyMagic+.
Legitimate security concerns and multiple technology platforms have given merchants and acquiring banks (the ones who process the payments) reason to watch and wait. Everyone wants to see which mobile wallet consumers will choose to adopt.
Two with Major Name Recognition
Google Wallet. When Google gets into a game, they play to win. Doesn’t mean they always do (think Google Buzz). Even so, the Google Wallet is a robust mobile wallet offering that works with smart phones and traditional online shopping. With Google Wallet you scan all your credit and debit cards. And you can tap your phone to pay at participating merchants. You get coupons pushed to your mobile wallet. Of course, there’s a lot of information gathered. We all trust Google with our information, right?
MasterPass. One of the most venerable brands in the payment industry, MasterCard, now has its second generation mobile payment platform. It’s called MasterPass. Like Google Wallet, MasterPass works on smart phones and tablets as well as on your home computer for online shopping. MasterCard is well known for its secure transaction network, and so the trust required to process payments in the digital space is strong.
Two New Entries
Apple Passbook. Scheduled to fully roll out in Summer of 2013 with iOS 7, the passbook is already being heralded as Apple’s next killer app. Designed to do more for users than simply enable transactions, the Passbook helps you organize travel and purchases in new, exciting and distinctively Apple-like ways. Downside: the company rolled out a version of Passbook already that has failed to capture of lot of people’s imagination. So this next edition needs to wow.
Samsung. According to its website, Samsung’s Wallet, announced in Feburary 2013, “lets users store event tickets, boarding passes, membership cards and coupons in one central location. It also offers time and location-based push notifications. In addition there are real-time updates for membership points. In many ways, it’s a clone of the Apple Passbook offering, which makes sense because Samsung has Apple in its sights on many levels.
Two that Change the Game
Square. Founded by Jack Dorsey, one of the pioneers of Twitter, Square has a solid model that’s gaining traction because it makes it easy for even the smallest merchants to accept credit card payments on mobile phones, and for consumers to make payments. There’s a card reader for merchants, and Square Wallet for consumer. The reader plugs into the audio jack of an iPhone, iPad or Android phone. The wallet allows customers to pay with their names…and get electronic receipts. One leg up for Square Inc.: Starbucks has invested heavily and its CEO Howard Schultz joined the board of Square.
Isis. What if the leading mobile phone networks joined together to create a mobile payment system? Watch this. Isis is backed by a consortium of AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless. Its wallet helps smart phone users organize payment cards, offers and loyalty cards. The technology platform — near field communications (NFC) — is highly secure and popular in other parts of the world. It’s even used on many “smart” credit and debit cards here in the U.S.
One that Everyone’s Watching: Disney MyMagic+
Disney Parks and Resorts, which have the benefit of total control over their own ecosystem, will soon be unveiling Disney MyMagic+. It uses custom built RFID “MagicBands,” which are connected to a mobile app. The app feeds a customer relationship management system to give visitors an even more magical experience.
“Disney MyMagic+ sets a new bar for mobile wallet service design,” says Sarah Clark, author of a new report about the system and editor of NFC World and The Mobile Wallet Report.
Where would you like to be able to pay with a mobile wallet? Are you excited or concerned by the prospect? Leave your comment here.