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Everything you need to know about the mobile wallet boom

August 18, 2016 8:28 am by Bronwyn Watt

Consumers want choice. They always have and they always will. Variety drives customer growth, not only in terms of goods offered, but also payment methods. We’ve always maintained that the more payment methods you offer customers, the more sales you’ll generate. Cash and card still dominate the payment sector, but several alternative methods are gaining traction. One particular method of payment currently enjoying significant adoption is the mobile wallet. In this blog we’ll look at what mobile wallets are, how they work, and what you as a retailer need to know about them.

What are mobile wallets and how do they work?

A mobile wallet is basically the wallet in your pocket, except digital. It contains all your card information so that you can use it to pay anywhere it is accepted. But how is that different from just typing in your card information at checkout? Well, with a mobile wallet you only fill in your card and shipping details once and they are stored securely on the provider’s server. When you make a purchase, all you have to do is enter your email address and password and the payment is authorised.

Mobile wallets can store information from more than one debit or credit card and they even store your shipping details. If you think about it, with a mobile wallet there’s virtually no risk of phishing because you don’t have to manually input your card information with every purchase. It combines safety and convenience while still giving consumers a new way to pay.

What mobile wallets are currently available and how do they vary?

The mobile wallet market has grown steadily over the past few years and it’s all thanks to the mass penetration of smartphones. Now, PayPal isn’t the only name that comes to mind when you think of digital payments. Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay are some of the biggest players fighting for a piece of the mobile wallet pie. Financial service providers aren’t getting left behind either; Visa’s Checkout and MasterCard’s Masterpass are new, but gaining popularity.

The main difference between mobile wallets is where you’re allowed to use them, that is to say either in-store, in-app, online or a combination of the three. For instance, Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay are for in-store and in-app payments. Visa Checkout and Masterpass, on the other hand, are used to shop online, for coupons, ticketing and so on. Mobile wallets can also facilitate person-to-person social payments like Google Wallet and WeChat’s money transfer functionality. It seems like there’s a mobile wallet for every use and every occasion, which is great news for consumers and even better news for businesses.

Is setting your business up to accept mobile wallet payments worth it?

While some resistance has been reported, mobile wallets might actually shape up to be the way people carry money in the future. Whether it’s online or in-store, setting your business up to accept mobile payments certainly doesn’t hurt and can only bring rewards. Added value is one of the things that sets a business apart from the rest and there’s no greater value you can add to your customers’ buying experience than safe and easy payments.

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