Opening Your Mobile Wallet this Black Friday?

11/25/2013

How will you pay for your purchases on Black Friday this year? Could it be with the mobile wallet and NFC (near-field communication)? This technology has long held the promise of allowing consumers to be able to check out quickly and access additional services such as loyalty cards and mobile coupons, all by simply using what is already in your pocket: your smartphone.

On a day such as Black Friday, this technology might look really appealing to consumers as a means to quickly get in and out of the store and even save a few extra dollars by finding the best deals. However, the mobile wallet has been slow to take off—and now technology providers are sending some mixed messages with regards to the future of NFC and the mobile wallet.

Google, www.google.com, was one of the early tech names to become synonymous with the mobile wallet. The company first introduced Google Wallet, an app that makes your phone your wallet, back in May 2011. But now it seems as if the company might be backing away slightly from NFC with the launch of its Google Wallet Card last week.


The physical card will allow consumers to quickly access the Google Wallet Balance and spend money either in stores or at ATMs by simply swiping the Google Wallet Card. This means consumers won’t have to wait for money to transfer from the Google Wallet Balance to the bank account. While this gives consumers the ability to access money immediately using a physical card, Google has taken a slight step back from the ‘mobile wallet’ vision that has been touted for years.

Google is quick to say consumers with the Google Wallet Card can still take advantage of all the Google Wallet app has to offer, including loyalty programs and more, but the card simply gives consumers an additional way to access cash immediately.

The carriers are also looking to have a big stake in the mobile-payment space, and could cause some big competition for Google. In the same week Google announced the Google Wallet Card, Verizon Wireless, www.verizonwireless.com, announced Isis Mobile Wallet is available nationwide, giving consumers the ability to store virtual versions of their credit and debit cards on their smartphone.

Using NFC, Isis Mobile Wallet can securely transmit information to a payment terminal with the touch of a finger. Verizon says at launch more than 200,000 retail locations are compatible with Isis including Toys ‘R’ Us, Jamba Juice, and others. This mobile wallet was built on a partnership between AT&T Mobility, www.att.com, T-Mobile USA, www.t-mobile.com, and Verizon Wireless, with the three companies having a vision to bring mobile commerce to life.

So who will own the mobile-wallet space? Google got an early start, but seems to be backing off slightly, and now the carriers are throwing their name in the ring as well. But could smaller innovative tech startups come out of the woodwork to take a lion’s share of the market?

Coin, http://onlycoin.com, is looking to shake up the mobile wallet space with its connected device that will begin shipping in the summer of 2014. Coin takes a slightly different approach to the mobile wallet than others. It is as simple as this: Instead of carrying multiple debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, etc., you simply have to carry one Coin connected device.

In combination with the Coin device, the mobile app allows consumers to manage the cards. Coin can hold an unlimited amount of cards and will be available for iOS and Android devices.

Three different approaches to the mobile wallet have emerged. Which will gain the most interest from consumers? We will have to wait to find out.

Want to tweet about this article? Use hashtags #NFC #mobilewallet





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