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Why hasn’t Mobile Wallet become even more popular?

by Larry Bellehumeur   |  Nov 14, 2018  

They use to have a joke back when Blackberries were all of the rage, and they called it “phantom buzzing.”  Even when an avid user would not have it on their hip, they used to claim they could still feel the buzz.  This highlighted how much users missed their device when they did not have it ... and this was only for email!

 

Today, so much of our personal life is on our phone ... most of our communication, how we shop, make reservations, our health and so much more.  The idea of forgetting your phone is not fathomable to most of us, especially the under 30 crowd.

 

So, if we always have our phone with us, why hasn’t Mobile Wallet taken off more and why has its growth rates tapered off?

 

The idea of Mobile Wallet (paying with purchases using applications on your smartphone or watch) is being done by less than half of those who have phones that are capable of it.  You can observe this at any Starbucks ... despite the wide publicity of the Starbucks App, you still see a lot of cash and debit card payments.

 

For some, it is security.  The funny part is that in most ways, it is actually more secure.  Compare losing your phone to your wallet.  Your phone is usually locked and most phone platforms allow you to easily wipe the phone remotely.  As well, some payment apps also demand a fingerprint scan.  A physical credit card offers none of those protections, and can be used to purchase things at some retailers/online ... sure, there are precautions, but it is likely more vulnerable.

 

I think the bigger issue might be habit, combined with convenience, or the lack of it.  Most people are pretty quick at getting their wallet out, so there is not much time saved by using mobile wallet.  As well, I have had my phone lock the moment before I start the transaction, something cards do not do.

 

So, will it ever pick up its growth?  Perhaps, as the growth rates are much higher among the under 40 crowd than the over 40 one, so it may just grow over time.  I think it will also pick up when you start to see other things in your wallet move to your phone ... I mean, I still need to carry my health card, driver’s license and other things, so other than going for a run, it is rare that I am away from my home without my wallet.  I think those things moving towards your phone will expedite its growth curve ...

 

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