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Mobile Payments: too many players on the field : MoMa Trends: Mobile Payments

Blog: MoMa Trends: Mobile Payments

The last couple of years have brought lots of change and expectation into the mobile payments sector. ApplePay, AndroidPay and SamsungPay mobile wallets were released to the general public, often with too much pomp, a big marketing push by payment networks and mass media coverage.

However, it still appears that mobile payments continue to struggle relative to the opportunity at hand, probably  because they have been approached in an ad hoc, non systematic way.

The question is, why is Apple trying to portray itself as mobile payments company by pushing ApplePay? Why do we have AndroidPay and SamsungPay pushed as separate mobile payment brands as well? Why do carriers and card issuers try to rebrand themselves also as mobile payments providers? Most of these players have in fact failed to capture critical mass of consumers so far, despite their respectful high tech and payments expertise.

To me, it is becoming clear that the average smartphone user may not care particularly about ApplePay, AndroidPay, SamsungPay, or any of the card issuer’s provided mobile wallets. Why would they? What does it give them? Perhaps only the opportunity to replace their wallets with a smartphone wallet.

Maybe it’s all related to the fact that consumers just want to pay for the goods they just purchased from the merchant. As such, payment steps could be pretty much invisible to most consumers since it’s been a natural part of the overall shopping experience, even with their low-tech leather wallets. It could be compared to the experience of driving a car – you naturally keep pressing the accelerator and brake pedal, steer the wheel, indicate left and right, all without sometimes even being aware of it.

In my opinion, Apple, Samsung, Google, carriers, payment networks and card issuers should rethink pushing their branded mobile wallets and refocus on helping merchants with an integrated framework with standardized mobile payment wallet APIs. This way merchants would be able to allow consumers to pay with their mobile phones through a merchant app as part of the shopping experience, seamlessly and naturally, online or in-store, whenever, wherever – omnichannel.

Therefore, let the consumers decide which of the merchant’s apps would be useful to them, which of their cards they put into the ‘invisible’ mobile wallet behind the app, and which one is at the top of the wallet. And the ‘invisible’ mobile wallet would be plugged-into every single merchant app on the consumer’s phone.

This is probably easier said than done, since high tech and payment industry interests are not completely aligned, not to mention their executives’ egos! However simply pushing consumers toward currently available mobile wallets provided by non merchants doesn’t seem to be working.

The sooner all parties work together towards some common goals, the better for the consumer adoption and the future of mobile payments.



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Ainara Gonzalez Abaitua
Master in Digital Marketing
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