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Mobile wallet will take huge strides forward in 2011: Zenius

While it will not quite achieve mass-market adoption in 2011, this year the various ecosystem players will take major steps forward to realize the vision of a mobile wallet compatible with handsets of all types.

In 2010, various trials from banks, payment brands and technology providers proved that the future of mobile payments is inching ever-closer. And over the course of 2011, major advancements in technology adoption and infrastructure development will set the stage for an explosion of growth in the space.

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Jenny Rae Le Roux, vice president of marketing and strategy at Zenius Solutions, San Francisco. Here is what she had to say:

What were the biggest trends and advancements in mobile commerce and payments over the course of 2010?
We saw a big onslaught of low-tech services such as bar code couponing and PayPal bump that are decent mass-market services.

We also saw some significant trials such as NFC City in Nice and the Citi/MTA trial in New York that gained traction for contactless and prepared the way for commercial roll-outs.

Isis released its plans for a multi-carrier, multi-handset rollout.

Finally, near field communication add-ons such as MicroSDs and SIM-enablers have ramped up the production curve, can now support multiple applications and are ready for mass-market production.

In summary, 2010—especially the third and fourth quarters—was the hottest year so far for mobile payments in general, and NFC in particular.

Will the mobile wallet and contactless mobile payments at the point-of-sale via NFC/RFID finally become a reality in 2011, or will we have to wait until 2012? 
The services I mentioned above, while encouraging advancements, are all limited in one of two ways—they are low-tech services that do not carry the security required to support payments and identity on the phone, or the trials are limited, either to a single-application card or a single handset.

This year, I think you will begin to see the real future of payments, made possible by independent software providers, to support multiple add-ons, multiple phones, both smart and not, and multiple applications that all function together in a converged wallet like the one you stuff full of cards today—all at the same time.

We will not arrive in 2011, but we will be light years closer and the early-adopters will get to have some fun.

What predictions do you have for the mobile commerce/retail/payments ecosystem in 2011?
We will see some pivotal banking and transport trials and some commercial roll-outs that demonstrate this functionality.

We will also see more POS support on the software side for mobile, a key link to the whole ecosystem.

Finally, we will see the emergence of closed-loop systems—some of the major potential winners in the mobile war—as some of the pioneering issuers and over-the-air provisioners.

Final Take
Ms. Le Roux