Money20/20 Europe: M-Wallet Future
If mobile wallets want to deliver on their promise and actually gain adoption, they’re going to have to leverage existing consumer behavior—instead of trying to change it—or offer a compelling enough reason to change. Sounds reasonable and yet the industry has struggled with this fundamental reality for the past five-plus years. During a panel at Money20/20 Europe in Copenhagen on April 5, experts discussed the challenges of creating personalized experiences to entice users and deliver those experiences at scale.
“Consumers don’t want to be forced to open a separate account for payment,” noted Martin Schurig, head of P&L financial services, Telefónica Germany. The mobile operator has been at the forefront of mobile payments but has faced adoption challenges. “We’re changing our strategy a bit,” Schurig said. Rather than having its own payment card, the telco’s role could be more about helping merchants drive footfall through geofencing and offers, he suggested.
Christian von Hammel-Bonten, executive vice president of global product strategy, Wirecard said that one of its mobile wallet partners, Orange, decided to hold off a year before launching to allow time for contactless acceptance to gain ground. What’s more, the Paybefore Award-winning wallet includes incentives for consumers and retailers to adopt it, including coupons and cash back rewards that help drive usage and footfall. “You have to create something which gives them a reason to use the wallet,” he said. And, the mobile app not only can help you create personalized experiences but it’s also a means to track data across channels.
Curve Co-Founder and CEO Shachar Bialick says for mobile wallets to take off they have to work everywhere with no new infrastructure required. His company, which came in second place in the StartupPitch contest earlier in the week, attempts to do just that. Curve’s mobile app works in tandem with a universal card that enables users to choose which card they want to spend with and manage their cash flow at the same time. The U.K.-based company is in soft launch and plans to add services such as credit, so it can become a gateway to myriad financial services.
Chris Kangas, head of contactless and mobile device payments, MasterCard, talked about finally reaching a tipping point in contactless acceptance in Europe after years of work. In 2015 contactless payments processed by MasterCard in Europe hit 1 billion. That milestone is important because it opens the door for greater acceptance of NFC-based mobile wallets.
In terms of which wallet might win, most of the panelists suggested that consumers will use different payment types or different apps depending on the situation—just as they choose different cards today. “Consumers want options and we want to be enablers of that,” Kangas said.
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