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Citi exec: Mobile wallet is going to drive adoption

NEW ORLEANS – A Citi executive at the International CITI Wireless 2012 conference said that in order for the mobile wallet to succeed, it has to be simple, ubiquitous and compelling.

During the “Mobile Meets Money – Perspectives from the Financial Community” session, panelists discussed the future of mobile money. The panel was moderated by Sylain Maquet, partner at Greenwich Consulting.

“In my opinion, we will go through a phase where merchants and banks and financial institutions are going to have different wallets – everyone will put out a mobile wallet,” said Richard Clow, managing director of global consumer mobile development at Citi.

“It’s going to be a competition in what works best in the customer’s eyes,” he said. “If the wallet is not accepted, it will die fast in my view.

“There is no winner out there, there’s a lot of experiments and learning.”

Mobile payments
Although mobile payments have been discussed for a long time now, marketers have come to a point where they have really started to accelerate adoption and there are some constraints out there that many are going through.

According to Mr. Clow, the reality is, through a lot of innovation and start-up work, marketers are just at the end of this beginning chapter.

Consumer standards are evolving.

Consumers do not want to think about the technicality of mobile payments, they just want to make sure the mobile payments service is as seamless as possible.

“Progress towards broad adoption will establish a set of guidelines that help define the rules of engagement for mobile payments,” Mr. Clow said. “The future is now.”

Cashing in
According to Mung Ki Woo, head of mobile at MasterCard Worldwide, 85 percent of worldwide transactions last year were done by cash and 15 percent were done by electronic means of payment.

“There’s a huge growth of opportunity here,” Mr. Woo said, “The pie has to grow bigger.”

Smartphones are going to be great tools to deliver mobile payment services, per the executive.

Currently, many marketers are looking to find new ways to use the mobile device as a point-of-sale terminal

Apart from Square, there are a lot of other players in the mobile commerce ecosystem.

Many merchants are currently looking at creating their own POS services.

Mobile commerce technologies are constantly evolving and marketers must not forget that the space is still new.

Consumer education is key to driving adoption.

For example, Google Wallet is constantly promoting its Google Wallet services, as well as enlisting top merchants to ease consumers into using the technology.

Mobile wallets will change the way that consumers make purchases. Although security remains an issue, many industry experts believe that NFC technology will lead the way in the near future.

“There is a lot of innovation which is taking place in the space to run the phones and tablets into POS devices,” Mr. Woo said.

Final Take