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I’ve got Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD). I get this every season when I try to buy something using my mobile phone.

Visa’s CEO Charlie Sharf recently said, with respect to the electronic, digital, mobile wallet-style thingammy-jigs that are popping up here and there, that:

“frankly most consumers don’t understand the concept of a digital wallet, to be honest with you, they always go back to simplicity”

[From MasterCard, Visa face adoption challenges with respective digital wallet services | Mobile Payments Today]

I think he’s quite right, but I might be tempted to add that most banks don’t understand the concept either, since they seem to think that wallets are something to do with payments when, as we all know, they are actually about interfaces, recognition, tokenisation, small data and APIs. But let’s focus on the simplicity point. In particular, when we talk about the mobile payment experience, the nature of the device and the environment in which it is being used place specific demands on the industry to deliver the simplicity experience.

If, during a mobile wallet transaction, a customer finds it too complicated or time-consuming, chances are they will abandon it and move on.

[From What’s the Next Step After Consumers Adopt Mobile Wallets?|PaymentsSource]

Fortunately, after a decade or so of mobile payments development, the industry has developed an excellent system for making mobile payments. Here’s a lady on my train back from London a couple of days ago, making just such as convenient and fast payment.


Yep. She is typing her card details into a web page on her mobile phone screen. Clearly, she didn’t abandon the transaction and move on, presumably because she was buying something she wanted and the farcical payment experience wasn’t enough to put her off. Still, that’s progress for you – because a decade ago she would have been typing her card details into a web page on her PC screen later in the day when she got home. Isn’t anyone else faintly bothered by how little has been achieved?

Digital wallets are far from dead… I don’t think we’ve yet seen “the killer” wallet experience.

[From Are the Best Days over for Digital Wallets? | PYMNTS.com]

Digital wallets are so far from dead that they haven’t even been born yet. I agree completely with Karen Webster about this. She makes a point later in this article about the extent to which some players have obtained real expertise and learning in the space already, and points out that this will be an advantage to them. This is true, but only if the players actually do something with that learning  and build mobile wallets that do more than just payments.

1 comment

  1. One click is the holy grail. I’m not sure why Visa doesn’t capture V.ME registrations in 3D Secure pages. 3D Secure is a hideous experience on mobile, but V.ME then makes total sense…

    Probably someone in compliance with a DPA issue that noone senior enough to make a difference understood the pro’s / con’s of

    Getting hundreds of banks globally to sign up to something with no consumer adoption is just daft.

    PayPal recently figured out the one click thing, so I suspect the schemes will get there eventually via the PSPs etc, and another layer of complexity gets added to the payments ecosystem…

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