Commentary

Mobile Wallets: the Terminology vs. the Benefit

There are mobile payments and then there are mobile wallets.

As many consumers go about their daily lives, they are hardly pining for either, even if they knew which one did what.

Many industry heavyweights, such as banks and credit card companies, are investing heavily in the future of mobile payments, since where it goes could determine where much of their business goes.

And then there are mobile wallets that, like regular wallets, can hold things besides cash, such as loyalty cards or coupons.

While smartphone owners may not know what mobile wallets are, they have an idea of what they can be used for.

A new study of smartphone owners found that the majority (85%) say they would receive some benefit from storing and organizing offers and loyalty cards on their phones (AKA, mobile wallets).

Almost half (44%) of non-users say a mobile wallet used to store information would enhance their shopping experience.

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The Vibes Mobile Consumer Survey, conducted by Equation Research, also looked at what consumers might use mobile wallets for.

  • 59% -- Would prefer to receive mobile wallet content weekly.
  • 46% -- Prefer to receive mobile wallet items by email.
  • 22% -- Digitizing paper items.
  • 19% -- Organizing coupons and loyalty cards.
  • 12% -- Would prefer to receive mobile wallet content daily.

And then there is the question of what a mobile wallet is perceived to be, at least in the eyes of the consumer.

  • 33% -- A mobile tool that allows me to pay for items directly from my phone.
  • 27% -- A mobile tool that allows me to both pay for items with my phone and store information.
  • 21% -- A mobile tool that allows me to store information.
  • 19% -- I have no idea what a mobile wallet is or what it’s used for.

Even if they don’t know what they are, some consumers could be persuaded to use mobile wallets if they got a deal. Exactly half of the smartphone users surveyed said they would be influenced to try a mobile wallet if they knew they would get better promotions and offers.

Terminology aside, there may be some big hope for mobile wallets.

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