The Future of Mobile Wallets

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In an interview with Messangi subject matter experts, we discovered what’s ahead in the evolution of Mobile Wallet technology.

How do you see the estate of mobile wallets today?

Mobile wallet technology has been embraced successfully in Asia and it’s growing at a fast pace. For years, the technology has been improved to a point that is quickly becoming a standard in many Asian markets. The US market’s story is quite different though. Less than a quarter of Americans have embraced mobile wallet technology, according to Forbes

What do you think is holding back mobile wallet adoption in the west? 

From the user point of view, the lack of knowledge seems to be what’s holding mobile wallet adoption. According to an article published in 2018 by https://www.paymentscardsandmobile.com, over one-third of global mobile users have downloaded a mobile wallet application to their smartphone. But only 5% use the application to make payments on a weekly basis. While 20% to 40% of users in markets like China, Japan, and Norway have adopted mobile wallet solutions, in western markets like USA and Colombia, adoption trails at 19% and 17% respectively.

As we know, humans are creatures of habit, the proliferation of mobile wallet payment options along with extra incentives to use such payment methods is what will motivate users to get familiar with mobile wallets and slowly change the way they shop and pay. From a tech point of view, the barrier for mobile wallet adoption is mainly legacy systems and platforms that are unable to communicate with each other.  The good news though is that digital transformation is underway in almost every enterprise today.

Tech giants like Google, Apple and Samsung are paving the way for a mobile wallet boom in the short term. Also, as “Near Field Communication” (NFC) technology becomes a standard, the adoption of mobile wallets will become easier.

Security is another factor holding up mobile wallet adoption. Make sure you align with a technology partner that has experience working with the banking and telecom sectors. Most likely this partner already meets all the security and anti-fraud standards needed to ensure a safe transaction with mobile wallets. A partner with strong data security chops would give you peace-of-mind with regards to data security and fraud prevention. Also, make sure this partner offers the technology and platform that can be easily integrated into your systems.

Finally, test special and attractive rewards available only with transactions done via mobile wallet. These tests will give you useful insights to improve adoption as they usually will go the extra mile to qualify for a discount or incentive.

What do you think is required, from the user and technology points of view, to create a mobile wallet solution that sticks?

If you’re reading this article, you’re doing the first and most important part; which is research. You must learn about the different technologies and platforms available, to decide what solution fits your business needs the best.

Pay special attention to the user experience. Make sure that mobile payment transactions can be done with the least steps possible. Also, request only the key personal information required to validate the user and the transaction. Avoid asking additional personal information as people may resist using your mobile payment solution and abandon the transaction.

Don’t make it a “Must” If you expect fast adoption and use of your Mobile Wallet solution, make sure you offer it as an option. It is crucial you implement an omnichannel solution were users can access their information across multiple channels, do not limit access through the mobile wallet solution only. Users have preferences, technological limitations, and tend to frequently visit those solutions that are easy, flexible and user friendly. 

Building a mobile wallet solution is not different than building any other software application, when it comes to defining functional requirements and features the mobile wallet would deliver. These functionalities need to be easily integrated into your current platforms and data stacks, to deliver a positive and personalized experience in real time. It needs to be an end-to-end solution, fulfilling the purpose as to why users would download your mobile wallet pass on their phones in the first place.

Once UAT (User Acceptance Testing) meets your standards, make sure you communicate and promote the solution to your core audiences. Take advantage of personalization to communicate the benefits of your mobile wallet, in line with the profiles and needs of each specific customer segment. The content you use to communicate should resonate with each segment. Also, consider the solution’s Icon as part of your branding, with an image that can be easily identified.

Are Mobile Wallet solutions only for monetary transactions only?

Mobile payment is the key benefit of a mobile wallet solution, along with customer loyalty. However, there are features like Loyalty Cards, Membership IDs, Passes and Event Tickets functionalities that can be added to your mobile wallet solution, to achieve a complete brand engagement solution. Offering many features and utilities is what would make your mobile wallet stick.

For example, Mobile Loyalty Cards will basically replace the typical “Punch Card” used to track retail transactions at a point of sale. A program like “My Starbucks Rewards” is by far the most popular Loyalty program application, where consumers collect stars that can be redeemed by prizes or products. Members that collect ten stars can trade them for a free drink. The fact that consumers are Brand loyal and do not need to input personal credit card information to participate in the program are attractive factors that we considered has aided the fast adoption of this loyalty program.

Mobile Identification Card like, Employee or Student IDs, is another functionality that can be added to your mobile wallet on smartphones and wearable devices, to access places like office buildings, college dorms, the library, campus events or restricted access area in a company. It can also be used to pay for laundry, snacks, and dinners around campus, or at the company’s cafeteria and vending machines.

Regarding event tickets, nowadays it is common to attend concerts, theater plays, and musicals, with tickets sent to your phone. A mobile wallet solution can also feature this functionality, allowing the purchase and delivery of tickets for special events or for any occasion that requires the purchase of a ticket. Ideally, this functionality should be tied to incentives and customer rewards, if it’s integrated with a Loyalty mobile solution.

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