May 27, 2012
From NFC to cloud wallets: what pains are we solving?
These have been around a long time of course, with PayPal, Amazon, and iTunes. But up until very recently, the payments industry has been enamored with NFC and Google Wallet as the new way to pay.
Things have shifted. Visa recently launched V.me and MasterCard launched PayPass Wallet.
They all accept multiple cards from various banks and payment networks, and they all want to include other wallet type objects like private label retailer cards, coupons, and even rewards currencies like airline miles. A bit too complex right now.
It's not clear yet what pain they solve.
Watching demos, you can see a customer pull out their phone, tap to go into the wallet, swipe through several cards to choose one with contactless functionality, then hold the phone up to a reader at the point of sale. Instead of fumbling through his wallet, the customer fumbles around with his phone.
I get the need for connections with multiple card issuers and the need for branding by each of these issuers. But these are issuer and payment network pains. They are not consumer pains.
The modern payment brands like Visa and MasterCard came about in the 1960's to solve a real pain for customers, who needed to be able to use their cards across a large number of retailers, not just retailers that had special agreements with the customer's bank.
How will cloud based wallets solve real pains for customers?