Digital wallets are back!

Many of the early wallet propositions were driven by MNOs and failed to catch on for various reasons. In the pre or at least early smartphone era, consumer experiences were not that exciting. They were slow, clumsy and full of friction. In the absence of retail acceptance infrastructure, wallet functionality was limited to person to person money transfer. When NFC did become available on mobile handsets, you had to make sure you had the right handset running the right firmware and then find a merchant with a contactless terminal. It was all so much effort.

Another question was the “small issue” of the MNO wallet business model. MNOs miscalculated the appetite for their SIM rental model. MNO consortia could have created a compelling single platform for banks to participate in, but they couldn’t find workable commercial agreements and consortia broke down. With the steady evolution of smartphones, the digital wallet centre of gravity moved from MNOs to the handset operating systems.

The starting gun for the most recent generation of digital wallets was probably around the time of the launch of Apple Pay in the USA, subsequently followed by Android Pay and Samsung Pay. At last a compelling consumer proposition for stakeholders to take more seriously. Now things appear to be shifting again and the ‘Wallet Wars’ are heating up once more.

The digital wallet centre of gravity appears to be on the move again with banks, retailers, schemes as well as start-ups launching new digital wallet constructs. Interesting are the various new attempts at national consortia led wallets. Particularly evident in Europe, most countries have or are in the process of launching national solutions based on a collaborative effort between banks.

Making sense of the wallet landscape

With the wallet landscape proliferating into a complex mix of wallet propositions of various vintages, some succeeding, some closing and others just launching, questions spring to mind. What does it take for wallets to succeed? How do the latest wallet implementation compare?

Together with BKM, Mobey Forum has initiated the Wallet Working Group (WWG) to investigate and has requested consultancy Edgar, Dunn & Company to run the Working Group. The first step has been for Edgar, Dunn & Company to start the development of a database of digital wallets that includes implementation details such as such as customer journey, payment functionalities, architecture, geographical reach and lessons learned. Exclusive to Mobey Forum members, the wallet database can be accessed via a web interface and is designed to enable sharing and exchange of information as well as discussion and debate. Currently focusing on Europe, the database so far contains an outline of over 50 wallets classified into groups based on different parameters. Edgar, Dunn & Company will be working with Wallet Workgroup members to complete the profiles.

Join us at MobeyDay

The Wallet Working Group will be in session at Mobey Day in Barcelona on Tues 4th Oct and all attendees are welcome to join. We have packed schedule including an update on the database as well as wallet presentations from Bankaxept and MobilePay.

For further details, go to www.mobeyday.com