Using a Mobile Wallet? Show Some I.D.

Your likelihood to make mobile payments could be age-related. I have had the same wallet for years. I like the feel of it… the look of it… the organization it provides.  It holds all of the stuff that makes me ‘me.’

A mobile wallet, on the other hand? It kinda leaves me cold.  But it turns out I’m not exactly in the demographic.

According to a new Fiserv study, age more than any other factor determines your likelihood of using a mobile wallet. Just 16 percent of the general population has used one (apparently a lot of folks like me still clutching their lovely leather cases). But 33 percent of ‘late millennials’ and 36 percent of ‘early millennials’ have used mobile wallets.

Hey, even a baby boomer/gen Xer like me can see why people might like them.

After you do some initial setup – download a mobile wallet app to your smartphone (like Google Wallet for Android) and create a digital account with your debit and credit card information – you can make a payment at retail by simply holding your phone over a NFC (near field communication) reader. Google Wallet doesn’t give your credit card info to the store; instead, you pay Google and they pay the store. Easy peasy, right?


Many smartphones – like your iPhone 5 or older – are not NFC-enabled, so you have to figure out a different way to pay instore. Luckily, PayPal’s mobile wallet has an option that allows members to enter their phone number to checkout instore, and like Google Wallet, doesn’t release your credit card information to individual vendors.

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But connectivity is just one variable that can make mobile wallets a question mark for consumers.

A big reason for delayed adoption could be all the players in the game. I mean, how many have I mentioned so far? While Apple Pay seems to be leading the pack at present, they have a mind-blowing number of competitors.  And lots of acquisitions of late have confused things even further for consumers, leading to questions about compatibility and security and what stores accept what mobile wallets when.

But there’s no disputing the tremendous market potential.  A new study from Juniper Research estimates that the mobile wallet spend globally is expected to rise by nearly 32 percent in 2017 to $1.35 trillion. And a Zion Market Research report further values the mobile wallet market in 2022 at $3.15 trillion.

That’s a lot of leather.

But for now, consumers like me can be assured that cash is accepted everywhere, and credit cards are pretty simple to swipe, tap or insert. Even my well-worn wallet has a pocket with plenty of room to hold my smartphone.

So, go ahead, mobile wallets — win me over.  I’m not that far gone.


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