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Moving Beyond Mobile Wallets

By David Broome, SVP-Application Development, InComm

David Broome, SVP-Application Development, InComm

When they were first launched, mobile wallets (or digital wallets) were met with a great deal of excitement. However, with so much of the financial experience moving to digital, including new and emerging technologies such as wearables, IoT and voice-controlled assistants, tech-savvy consumers are looking for more than just storing and using their credit, debit and gift cards on their mobile device.

"Contextual commerce makes buying seamless when consumers are going about their everyday lives"

As a leader in the prepaid and payments industry, InComm has a keen interest in how consumers are embracing these emerging technologies, as well as how its prepaid products can offer consumers the most valuable benefits: convenience, versatility and flexibility. One of InComm’s most popular products–the prepaid reloadable card MyVanilla–is launching soon on the most highly utilized mobile wallets.

Mobile wallets are moving from the “early adopter” phase of their lifecycle and beginning to reach the level of ubiquity many people predicted they will. A 2016 study by InComm found that 37 percent of prepaid consumers already have a mobile wallet, a number that is expected to consistently grow.

As a prepaid payments company with its finger on the pulse of the industry, we are reimagining how to sell prepaid products to our consumers, with a focus on meeting them at every opportunity for a payment transaction, including contextual commerce.

Looking Ahead

As digital wallets begin to tip toward ubiquity for consumer adoption, forward-looking companies are already leveraging contextual commerce to enable the next generation of payment opportunities and enhance the consumer experience.

Contextual commerce makes buying seamless when consumers are going about their everyday lives. For instance, one of the leading social media mobile applications integrates payment opportunities without the user ever having to leave the app. Users can shop and pay bills within the app itself and while they are chatting with friends and family.

With these emerging payment opportunities come new challenges. Mobile wallets also have their own unique market adoption challenges, including the need for enhanced security and a more intuitive customer experience.

Increased Security

According to recent studies, between 15 and 30 percent of consumers who don’t use mobile wallets cited “security concerns” as a reason why. It’s good that consumers are becoming more aware and savvy to the security of their payments, but that can also foster hesitation with new methods.

Fortunately, the leading wallet providers are making strides toward this goal of safer and more secure mobile wallet payments. There are a lot of intriguing ideas making appearances in mobile wallets, like two-factor and biometric authentication. Additionally, mobile wallet technology can be updated on the consumer’s device as frequently as necessary, keeping security features up to date simply and easily.

More Intuitive Experience

In the past, to make a mobile payment, a consumer had to first retrieve his or her phone from her pocket or purse, unlock it with their security code, select the app and then select the appropriate card before a payment can be made. Or, they could simply pull a traditional card out of their wallet and make the payment.

In order for consumers to adopt an emerging payment solution, it must be at least as easy and intuitive as their current card solution. Changes in the mobile wallet user experience for one of the top mobile wallet providers now allow users to simply select the app on the payment terminal and validate the payment on their mobile device with a scan of their fingerprint. Other leading wallets have similar features, supporting a simple, intuitive user experience.

Other features that support mobile wallet adoption and ease of consumer use are appearing on the scene. Another top provider uses proprietary technology to allow the device to communicate with the payment terminal’s magnetic stripe reader, as if a card were being used. This allows consumers to use mobile payments at up to 95 percent of all retailers and doesn’t require retailers to replace payment terminals.

Whether it’s mobile wallets or voice-activated online ordering, the future of payments is supported by mobile through new technologies, and the best way companies can survive this natural migration of consumer behavior is to know their customers inside and out. Then they will have the knowledge to meet consumers with seamless buying decisions everywhere they are.

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