Wells Fargo highlights Android-friendly commerce opportunities with mobile wallet
Wells Fargo is reminding financial institutions not to overlook non-iOS customers with a mobile wallet for Android devices, enabling users to make purchases at participating merchants by holding their smartphones up to contactless readers.
The bank foreshadowed its Android mobile wallet rollout back in May, and initiated a full launch earlier this week. Wells Fargo app users who do not want to leverage a third-party payment platform such as Android Pay or Samsung Pay can opt to use the financial institution’s proprietary service instead, indicating that more banks may foray into the mobile wallet space with standalone offerings.
“Wells Fargo Wallet is another easy, convenient and secure way for our customers to make payments from an Android phone,” said Jim Smith, head of Wells Fargo Virtual Channels. “Built in-house, it’s designed to provide a seamless banking experience for customers.
“We know mobile is key to the future of payments, and we expect Wells Fargo Wallet to offer a unique experience for our customers, while providing us with a richer understanding of the quickly evolving payments landscape so that we can be better informed to innovate for customer needs,” he said.
“In addition to Wells Fargo Wallet, we are pleased to continue to provide Wells Fargo customers with our collaborative mobile payment options including Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. We want to satisfy our customers’ financial needs when, where and how they want, and allowing them to pay from any mobile wallet they choose helps us fulfill that promise.”
Paying with confidence
The Wells Fargo Wallet for Android is accessible within the bank’s flagship app. Android users wanting to take advantage of the new wallet can tap on the Get Started in the Wells Fargo Wallet ad and take a virtual tour of the available features.
They will then be prompted to accept the terms and choose a unique access code. The next step asks users to select the Wells Fargo card they would like to link to the mobile wallet. Once a default card has been selected, individuals can tap on the Register Wallet button.
Customers’ full credit card numbers will not be stored on their smartphones, as the wallet leverages tokenization technology for merchant transactions. This ensures that all mobile purchases will be secure.
Additionally, Android wallet users have access to round-the-clock fraud monitoring. In the event an unauthorized purchase is made using an individual’s default card, that person will be reimbursed if the activity is reported immediately.
To buy items in a store, consumers can unlock their mobile devices and hold them up to a contactless card reader located near the cashiers. Wells Fargo’s mobile wallet is accepted by more than one million merchants with NFC-enabled payment terminals.
Wallet users can also monitor their account balances before and after making a purchase, allowing them to stay up-to-date with their finances and budgets.
“With more than 18 million customers, mobile banking is Wells Fargo’s fastest growing channel in company history,” Mr. Smith said. “Approximately 38 percent of our mobile app customers use Android phones, representing 6 million customers.
“These customers have the highest amount of monthly sessions, logging in an average of 17 sessions per month,” he said. “We at Wells Fargo believe that the steady increase of NFC-enabled payment terminals, in addition to the proliferation of NFC-enabled ATMs, will drive customer adoption of mobile wallets.
“As of February 2016, millions of U.S. retail stores have NFC-enabled payment terminals, and more than 40 percent of Wells Fargo’s ATMs will be NFC-enabled by the end of this year.”
Untapped Android potential
Although financial marketers have begun rolling out branded mobile wallets with increased fervor, many of those platforms are specifically geared toward iOS users. Wells Fargo’s focus on Android customers showcases the importance of introducing both iOS- and Android-friendly services if a singular OS-agnostic platform is not possible.
If more banks launch mobile wallets for Android devices, stalwarts in the digital payments space such as Samsung Pay and Android Pay may find themselves seeing lower amounts of usage. In some cases, banks may have the upper hand when it comes to enticing mobile users to leverage their wallets, due to the long-lasting relationships and trust they already have with their customers.
Wells Fargo has been heavily innovating in the mobile commerce realm over the past few months with a plethora of new tools and offerings.
A Wells Fargo executive at Forrester’s CXNYC 2016 explained how the bank was able to shift its focus to simplicity by retooling the company’s mindset and bringing convenience through mobile and digital offerings (see story).
The financial institution recently launched a new Visa credit card that focuses on cash rewards and includes a mobile-enabled online banking feature for on-the-go account management, driving purchases and credit card use (see story).
“We’re currently piloting at select ATMs the ability for Wells Fargo customers to conduct ATM transactions without using their debit or ATM card, instead using a smartphone equipped with NFC,” Mr. Smith said. “A customer initiates a transaction through any leading mobile wallet (Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Wells Fargo Wallet), by authenticating through a thumbprint or passcode on his or her smartphone, and holding the phone near an NFC-enabled ATM terminal.
“Once authenticated, the ATM will proceed to the main menu, starting with the customer inputting his/her PIN on the ATM and proceeding to complete the transaction,” he said. “By the end of this year, more than 40 percent of our ATMs will be NFC-enabled.
“Also, at the end of this year, Wells Fargo will pilot a feature that will allow customers to withdraw cash from an ATM by authenticating through the mobile app instead of an ATM card.”
Customers will be able to log into the Wells Fargo app, request an access code for the selected account and receive an eight-digit token that is usable at an ATM. Upon arriving at the ATM, the individual can input the eight-digit code as well as the ATM pin and complete the desired transaction.
“Our new ATM features exemplify Wells Fargo’s commitment to innovation that helps our customers succeed financially,” Mr. Smith said. “We’re excited to provide our customers with another way to conveniently and securely make ATM transactions how and where they are – and for many that’s on a mobile device.”