Will Mobile Electronic Wallets Replace Leather Wallets?
Customers need incentives to embrace mobile wallets, especially in the U.S. Banks will play a major role in how--and if--mobile wallets further evolve.
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Mobile wallets are all the rage. But legitimate questions remain as to whether they will ever replace their leathery counterparts.
Mobile wallets, which use NFC-based technology to allow customers to make contactless payments at the point of sale, already have begun to make their presence felt. Mountain View, Calif.-based Google launched a digital wallet last fall. The search giant has agreements with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover to make the Google Wallet available to the card companies' account holders, and there even are some NFC-enabled terminals in use across the U.S. that can accept it, including at many mass transit stations.
Meanwhile, Isis, the mobile payments venture formed by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless, is set to launch this summer in select U.S. markets. That venture, which also has partnerships with the major card schemes, recently announced that it has reached agreements with Chase, Capital One, and Barclaycard to enable their credit, debit, and prepaid cards to be placed into the Isis mobile wallet.
Mobile wallet ventures are cropping up around the globe as well. Telecom companies including Vodafone and Telefonica announced this year wallet initiatives in Africa and Latin America. But mobile wallets still face many hurdles before they can gain widespread adoption, experts say, including the rather difficult task of getting consumers to change long-held habits.
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