Mobile e-wallets will let you pay for things, or pay other people from your mobile phone. You’ll be able to select what payment type you want to use (which bank account, credit or debit card, or stored value card) and make a secure, even anonymous transaction using your mobile phone.
Google, Microsoft, and Isis are betting on/waiting for NFC chips in our phones and on Point of Sale devices. But other players like PayPal and possibly Apple may be taking an approach that requires no additional hardware at the merchant: generate bar codes and/or matrix codes to convey the payment information at the point of sale. If successful, this barcode approach would enable these players to gain traction quickly and add NFC capabilities later. The e-wallet providers who wait for ubiquitous NFC chips may miss the e-wallet train as it leaves the station.
Another key success factor is security. What happens to my account information if my phone is lost or stolen? So one of the most customer-critical features that a number of players plan to offer is the ability to generate one-time virtual credit card numbers for each transaction, thereby protecting the security of your actual account numbers.
It may surprise you to learn that we think that Amazon may become a major player in the battle for digital wallets or e-wallets on our mobile phones. Other likely contenders include Apple, Google, and Microsoft (natch!). One player you may not have on your radar is Isis—that’s a consortium formed between AT&T, T-Mobile US, and Verizon Wireless. Who don’t we think has a big shot? The credit card companies and the banks. Why? Because a) customers want to be able to use any card in their e-wallet and b) American consumers no longer think of their banks as trusted partners.Who Are the Key Players in Mobile E-Wallets in the U.S.?
Amazon, Apple, Google, PayPal (e-Bay), Mobile Phone Networks, Credit Card Companies, or Upstarts?
By Patricia B. Seybold, CEO and Senior Consultant, Patricia Seybold Group, September 6, 2012