More players being added as the year progresses.
We have seen how things were expected to be in full swing in the 4th quarter last year for the Mobile Wallet, but that never ended up happening. Some of that is more than likely due to a decision by Apple to not include the Near Field Communications (NFC) chip in the iPhone 4S. Apple moves markets and without that, things slowed down. And in reality. there is not enough smart phones here in the US equipped with NFC chips. You add to that the competition in the 4th quarter between Google’s Mobile Wallet and that of Isis. We all remember the basic refusal of Verizon to allow for Google Wallet to be installed on the Galaxy Nexus.
I had talked about how the Mobile Wallet space was being fragmented and in the past few months, it appears to have gotten worse. We heard last week about retailers here in the US in what they are calling the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). This is a series of retailers, including WalMart and Target, who are joining forces to create their own system for accepting payments and clearing them. Another new player in a growing market, long before the idea of the Mobile Wallet has taken hold.
I had thought that things would take longer to be adopted here in the US, but it looks like it is going to take even longer than expected. Much if this is because there is still a struggle for the dominate players in the market. There are rumors floating around that Apple is getting into the Mobile Wallet business through their Passbook app which just came out. That would create an even more crowded field.
Another recent addition is PayPal and Discover who are teaming up to provide Mobile Wallet services to retailers. Visa has been testing their POS devices for close to a year and is another player in this field which is getting more crowded. And there are others involved in trying to get their Mobile Wallet to be the one that leads the field, such as Isis. There are a lot of big names here and a lot of money being put behind all these various methods.
If the Mobile Wallet is going to take hold for this coming holiday season, there is going to have to be some standards established and agreements for what can be run on all the various smart phones. Each POS device can be handled by a different company to potentially handle the payments. The big issue is what is being run on the smart phones with the enabled NFC chips. If all these players cannot figure out a way to cooperate or a way to run multiple pieces of software to allow for having multiple Mobile Wallets so to speak, it is not going to happen this year.
Many are interested in seeing the Mobile Wallet come to be this year. Do you think it is going to happen in 2012?