By Patty Seybold
Starting this fall, e-wallets will become available for our mobile phones. When I use the term “e-wallet,” I’m talking about enabling consumers to pay for things using their mobile phones and to pay each other via mobile phone. No cash, no plastic credit cards, no checks needed. You carry your money, credit cards, debit cards, rewards points, and loyalty cards around with you digitally. At the point of sale, you choose which payment type you want to use: take cash from your checking account, use money you’ve pre-loaded on a stored value “card,” charge it to your phone bill, charge it on a credit card account and pay later, and so on. Like a physical wallet, you can put things into it and take things out of it. And you can carry it around with you wherever you go.
Microsoft's Wallet Hub will debut with Windows 8
The competition is heating up. Here are the e-wallet players I think are likely to be jockeying for marketshare:
- Amazon 1-Click, possibly delivered on an Amazon phone
- Apple’s credit card payment add-on to Passbook (i-wallet?), expected to debut with the iPhone 5
- eBay’s PayPal
- Google Wallet
- Microsoft Wallet Hub on Windows 8
- The mobile carriers: AT&T/T-Mobile/Verizon Wireless Isis
- The credit card companies: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover or other financial institutions (e.g., Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo)
Which of these players would you trust to host and manage your credit cards, bank accounts, loyalty cards, and rewards? Which one(s) would protect you best if you lost your phone with all that information on it? Whom do you believe would have YOUR best interests at heart (not the interests of the advertisers who want to make you the target for their offers)?
What Most People Seem to Want in an E-Wallet
E-wallets will be like mobile phones themselves. We didn’t know we needed them until we have them. What do people care about the most? Here’s a list of customers’ requirements we’ve discovered, in rough priority order:
let my account information be seen or used by anyone; even the person or
company I’m paying. Use some kind of proxy for my actual credit cards
and bank account.
lose my phone, I don’t want my information to be compromised or able to
be compromised, and I want it backed up so I don’t lose anything.
purchase little things (a can of soda) or big things (a computer)
without penalizing me, or the merchant, with high transaction or
Let me manage my spending, see where my money is going, and feel sure I’m always getting the best deal.
- Don’t lock me into a single mobile phone network, mobile phone, or e-wallet; Let me migrate seamlessly from one to another.
Next, we’ll bring you our take on the e-wallet landscape and how these e-wallet offerings stack up against what we perceive to be customers’ real requirements.