Tap to Pay with a Mobile Wallet
The idea of a mobile wallet has captured the attention of a variety of companies, including credit card providers, network operators, and major tech firms like Google and Apple. Mobile wallets have also been closely tied with the idea of NFC (near-field communication). This technology would allow people to pay for items merely by moving their phone close enough to a reader to transmit information.
According to Parks Associates, www.parksassociates.com, NFC will become standard on smartphones during the coming years. The analyst firm says almost 50% of U.S. smartphone owners find an NFC-enabled mobile wallet application appealing. Additionally, 16% of smartphone owners already use PayPal or other types of ewallet solutions as their preferred method for mobile payments.
Some of the mobile wallet applications previously announced include offerings from Google as well as a collaboration among AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless called Isis. Other options are expected to be announced in the coming months.
One possibility could be a mobile wallet offering from Apple, which ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, says will launch in 2012. While MNOs (mobile network operators) will provide most NFC-enabled mobile wallets, ABI Research expects their marketshare will give up some gains to Google and Apple between 2012 and 2016. MNOs will provide 75% of all mobile wallets in 2012, shrinking to 63% in 2016.
Google Wallet allows consumers to tap their phone on a reader at the point-of-purchase, and the phone sends payment information, and at some merchants it will also call up special offers and loyalty information. Recently, Google announced it was merging its Google Checkout service into Google Wallet to create a single payment solution. This way, consumers would use a single solution whether paying in stores or online.
Eventually, Google would no doubt like for the Google Wallet service to be used for most consumer purchases. This could provide Google with a wealth of data on consumer purchasing habits.
As mobile wallet offerings grow in functionality and prevalence, it may not be too long until we’re all tapping our phone to pay. But for now, users may still need their wallets for their driver’s licenses—that is, until tech giants find a way to digitize those as well.