Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Australians Ready To Go Digital With Their Wallet Via The Smartphone

The idea of having a wallet or purse that doesn't bulge with a multitude of plastic cards is quite attractive to many. I got to the stage where my wallet was so full of ID, membership and credit cards that I separated my cards into a pile of everyday cards and another of "some times" cards. That solution however proved to be problematic for me being spontaneous and likely to make a random decision to go to the zoo or movies and discovering my membership is in the sometimes wallet left back at home.

In Australia nearly 80% of us wont leave home without the smartphone, they have become as critical as your keys or up until recently your cash and credit cards. Enter the digital wallet, a one stop shop for all your credentials. Cash, ID and memberships all conveniently located in your smartphone.

Mobile payments use the same technology as contactless payments. Take a look at the supermarket or your petrol station, you can already simply tap your credit card on the merchant’s EFTPOS terminal and your payment is made. This merchant technology by MasterCard's PayPass and Visa's PayWave can also be used for mobile payments using wireless near field communication (NFC) to the EFTPOS device.

The large supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths will adopt the use of digital wallet payments because of the convenience of the "tap and go" infrastructure already being part of the store payment systems. However a smartphone digital wallet goes beyond payments, it can also be used for travel and concert tickets, loyalty redemption and geo proximity special deals such as retailers enticing you into their store by offering instant freebies and time sensitive discounts.

Sometime ago I heard Google’s real business objective is to be a financial institution and it seems that ambition is coming into fruition with their latest banking product Google Wallet. This Android App allows you to store credit card and loyalty reward card details on your smartphone and make a payments to an NFC enabled EFTPOS device that accept MasterCard PayPass transactions as described previously. So it appears in Australia we are really well down the path of the technology for digital wallets in terms of both software & hardware, we just need the merchants to get behind it and make it available to customers.


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