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Retiring the L-wallet… One m-Transaction at a time

The following post focuses on the In-Store m-Transaction component of the broader m-Pay & m-Commerce solutions within emerged markets (particularly U.S). Examples include Apple Pay, Google Pay, LoopPay, et al.

The dreaded ‘F-word’…

…Fragmentation is a familiar ‘problem’ whenever a new trend is initiated from within the technology sector

Contributed by an excess of Start-ups and Established players wishing to develop ’The Ultimate Solution’ within this emerging trend

Fragmentation, as we know is not only detrimental to mass consumer adoption but also other critical value chain players such as solution developers (app, content, service), Infrastructure providers and Distributors

As such, fragmentation has traditionally been dealt through either setting Common Standards, General Industry consolidation or Natural mass market affinity towards a ‘socially popular / viable’ solution

Or in some rare cases coexist in what seems like a delicate truce

Being smartphone-centric technology; m-Transaction solutions too fall victim to fragmentation

However, this may not necessarily be ‘problematic’. The true rival to m-Transaction segment is the archaic yet significant Cash, Cheques & (physical) Magnetic Stripe Card reliant commerce segment that would necessitate an overhaul at some point

The ‘Sum of all m-Transactions’ is in fact an ally in achieving my goal… retiring the humble leather wallet (L-wallet) to the souvenir shelf

Making Fragmentation your Friend

In-store m-Transaction itself is not a new concept (at least in the U.S.), having been around in one form or the other over last few years.

– Google Wallet; which entered service sometime in 2011

– Starbucks has its popular ‘Barcode’ App based payment solution

– LoopPay (acquired by Samsung), lauded for it’s compatibility with existing MST POS terminals

– CurrentC; the yet to be launched product of Walmart-led consortium Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX)

– PayPal Wallet; available to use at various store locally and nationally

– Square Wallet / Order; now defunct

– AT&T, Verizon & T-Mobile’s now defunct Softcard (acquired by Google)

Finally, Apple Pay; which is arguably the most widely revered & used m-Transaction service on the market today… Apple Pay

But where many see fragmentation in this increasingly complex segment, I see an Opportunity… leveraging every available compatible m-Transaction under the sun is helping me achieve my above stated goal

An ideal m-Transaction solution usually has an intuitive workflow, growing merchant acceptance, strong backing from financial institutions and robust security…. the last of which could be addressed through a combination of Tokenization, Biometrics & Encryption

For any one m-Transaction solution to achieve cash-like ubiquity is a distant dream… but in the interim, diverse m-Transaction solutions are surely aiding in retiring that humble L-wallet

m-Challenges

Whilst the above examples make transitioning to m-Transaction appear effortless; abandoning the (physical) plastic card immediately is equally unfeasible

– As you may have already figured, the examples laid out above; though true; are quite narrow in their scope

– Truth is I have merely adapted my lifestyle where possible to those very specific businesses within a close proximity of my residence / office / daily commute route

Plastic comes back into the picture once I exit ‘the comfort zone’… for example –

– City banned UBER? -> Regular cab -> Back to Plastic

– Alternate Supermarket -> Back to Plastic

– Feel like Chipotle for lunch? -> Back to Plastic

– Restaurant not listed on OpenTable? -> Back to Plastic

– Annual Car Service -> Back to Plastic

– Vehicle Transfer State Tax -> Back to Plastic… No…Cheque only? What?? What is even a cheque??

And the list continues… in fact for every retailer that accepts some form of m-Transaction today, there are exponentially many more who don’t

Retailer reluctance, costs pertaining to POS upgrade and proprietary solutions tend to hinder rapid consumer adoption & confidence. Traveling outside the U.S further inhibits the use of the mentioned m-Transaction

‘m-Light’ at the end of the tunnel

We may see major strides that may aid in m-Transaction mass adoption such as –

– Samsung & Google’s imminent Wallet platforms that should hopefully see an increased uptake amongst the Android faithful

– Continued support for m-Transaction solutions from Large to Small businesses

– Standardization of security protocols such as Tokenization across all m-Transaction solutions

– Joint Industry push to educate consumers on the benefits of m-Transaction

– Merging benefits of m-Transaction and Omni-Channel retailing to further drive the overall m-Commerce adoption

– Omni-Channel + m-Pay e.g. – Whilst Target doesn’t accept Apple Pay in-store as yet -> ‘Apple Pay’ for specific items in-App and pick-up from the nearest neighborhood store

Here’s to a world without Cash or (Physical) credit cards!