Mobile Payment Solutions

Our wallets: humble folds of material that we carry with us wherever we travel. It's sole purpose - to guard slim, detailed tickets that enable us to exchange property. We have all experienced the panic that rushes through our body when our hand reaches and grasps nothing but air where our wallet should be, but we may have to get comfortable with this feeling in the next  few years....

Indeed PayPal have announced that wallets will not be required in the UK by 2016! Enter mobile payments.

Today, we quizzed one of our top geeks on the subject to find out the pros and the cons of what's becoming another inevitable retail evolution.

Okay, so it'd be good of get rid of the weight from my back pocket, but if you lost your phone - then what? ponders Folk's Senior Developer, Luke Fowell.

Mobile Payment Apps

On the other hand, the PayPal app actually offers more of a secure shopping experience offline as no-one around you ever sees your bank or card details - all of this information is stored away on PayPal's servers. Mashable also revealed PayPal are testing facial recognition technology in order to help tighten-up security issues even further.

Google have, of course, created their own Wallet that allows you to list various bank cards and brand loyalty schemes (which we'll come on to again later). The Wallet also offers you a physical card that you can use to pay in store and at cash points, too, from the same system. Old School.

The biggest issue of their system is the tedious nature of ensuring all of your information is stored in Google's systems if it isn't already.

Apparently 'out to kill' Google Wallet is carrier alternative Isis, designed to come to the rescue of mobile owners under certain mobile networks who do not have an NFC compatible phone. You can read more about it here, though it's only currently available in the USA.

Loyalty Cards

The biggest problem with recruiting consumers to use any of the mobile wallets is:

a) There are still too many to choose from, creating confusion and unnecessary hassle amongst consumers, when mobile wallets should be simplifying the payment process.

b) The value of integrating our wallets into our phones still just doesn't seem that appealing.

The general consensus across wider industry discussion does seem to be that consumers need a little more convincing beyond the facts, which is where incentivising consumer engagement comes into the picture.

As well as being able to store your loyalty points across all brand purchases in one place (as opposed to pieces of plastic or beer-stained paper stamp tickets), a mobile wallet can also prompt us to purchase by prompting us with exclusive offers.

What more could you want from your wallet, right?

While safety skepticism remains high in the UK, the global use of mobile payments is on the increase.

I guess the whole concept of the mobile wallet also ties back into the latest buzzword conversation of 2013, Big Data.

It's another opportunity for retailers to marry-up the online-offline shopping experience for the 21st century consumer, which can only be a good thing.

I certainly recommend you give it a look over, if you haven't already!

- Luke.

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