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Pros and Cons of the "Mobile Wallet" Movement

June 20, 2012 by Richard Turley

Consumers have come to depend, more and more, on their mobile devices. Our Androids and iPhones are not just used for making phone calls, of course. They allow us to surf the Web, engage in social networking, and much more. The promise of the mobile device, from the very beginning, has been that, one day, it might be the only thing we need in our pockets. In fact, there are many who believe, or at least hope, that the mobile device might one day replace the wallet altogether.

Many companies, both large and small, have jumped on this “mobile wallet” bandwagon. They have sought professional IT firms, like Control-Z, to enact mobile payment systems. The mobile wallet movement itself, however, offers many pros and cons.

 The Perks of the Mobile Wallet
Certainly, the idea of the mobile wallet carries promise. Some of the benefits are so obvious as to almost go without saying. There are potentially immense benefits to the consumer, starting with the fact that bulky wallets and pocketbooks can be left at home. The consumer can purchase a produce with just a few taps on the smart phone, where payment information is stored.

 There are other benefits, as well, that extend to merchants and companies. A merchant or marketing analyst could potentially use these mobile wallets to find deep information about consumer shopping habits. As with “customer loyalty” barcode programs, the mobile wallet could potentially be used by companies to track where consumers shop, what they buy, and so forth.

The Problems with Mobile Wallets
Of course, there are also some potential hazards. The first is this basic conundrum: On the one hand, consumers will not want to buy a smart device equipped with this mobile payment technology when most retailers do not accept it. At the same time, retailers will not wish to begin accepting mobile wallet payments when so few consumers have the technology. Simply launching the mobile wallet would prove tricky.

 There are other problems that arise, as well. For example, many experts would agree that it’s very unlikely wallets could ever be truly replaced. Even if you can make all purchases via smart device, you still need a driver’s license—just one example among many.

 The bottom line is that retail technology is evolving. The mobile wallet trend may not pan out, but the interest in it alone shows that commerce is changing as technology improves. Companies of all kinds can stay abreast of these trends through consultation with an IT solutions company, such as Control-Z.