Not quite, but we are getting closer.
Kevin May at Tnooz wrote an article highlighting a study by “UK firm ICM Research of over 2,000 consumers found a lukewarm attitude to use of mobile wallets and 2013 is unlikely to be the year where mass adoption finally kicks in.”
Of course a lot of the discussion around mobile wallets have centered around NFC and most of the noise is from the carriers who want to insert themselves into their customers checkbooks even more so than by charging exorbitant rates. As some of you already know, I’ve been skeptical about NFCfor many years and as you might have guessed see little reason to want to turn my mobile carrier into my primary payment processor.
Now back to the ICM study. I find it interesting, but not surprising, that over half the respondents want incentives/discounts to use the mobile. What this tells me is that people don’t see the mobile wallet as a more convenient than current payment methods. Part of the issue may be that they recognize NFC isn’t everywhere and therefore still requires the individual to carry their real wallet for other transactions (besides using cash, which also requires the real wallet). So where is the utility?
Where Apple may have gotten it (more) right with Passbook is that they’re not trying to replace the payment methods of wallets, but replacing having to carry other things they would not normally have in their wallets (movie tickets, boarding passes) or stuff that can be hard to fit (e.g. a myriad of individual loyalty cards or top up cards; note this seems to have driven the massive success of Starbucks’ mobile app).
I’m not saying that Apple will win the mobile wallet wars, but I think their approach to integrating it into the way people want to use a mobile phone in payments and loyalty, looks a lot closer to how people want to use it. Either way, I’m in agreement with ICM, 2013 won’t be the magical year of the mobile wallet, no matter how much Verizon, Google, AT&T or others may want it to be so.
What’s your POV?