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National averages from Bankrate.com

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Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
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Business 12.85% 12.85% 12.85%
Student 13.14% 13.14% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.12% 14.12% 14.00%
Airline 15.10% 15.10% 15.15%
Reward 15.14% 15.14% 14.99%
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Our real-time advice on how market shifts and news impact you and your money

Do You Need a Mobile Wallet?

Now that a group of prominent retailers has announced a plan to embrace mobile payments, consumers are once again facing the Big Question: Namely, is it finally time to ditch that Costanza wallet?

Tyler Olson / Shutterstock.com

The question, of course, refers to George Costanza, the clueless sidekick of “Seinfeld” fame who carried a wallet so filled to capacity that it finally exploded. In recent years, the big players in the payment industry — merchants, banks, mobile-phone companies — have touted a day when such an overstuffed leather carry-all will become as much a relic as the typewriter or LP.

But even with a new wave of retail giants, including Wal-Mart and Target, entering the digital-wallet space, consumers may still have rightful reason to be skeptical — at least for another year or two — and to hold on to their plastic, say experts who track mobile commerce.

For starters, the problem is one too many competing technologies. In addition to the newly announced Merchants Customers Exchange, the other big names in mobile payments include Google and Isis. A wide-open field poses a dilemma for consumers, since nobody wants to get stuck with the mobile-wallet version of Betamax.

On top of that, the individual payment systems are still going through an extensive period of refinement. When Google Wallet first launched, for example, it worked only with a Citibank-issued card. Just this past month, Google announced it finally expanded to support “all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.”

But limitations of one sort or another still exist with most of the major mobile-payment services — and will continue to do so for a while. For example, not all smartphones work with all services. “It’s just the market shakeout,” says Hank Israel, a partner with Novantas, a prominent management consulting firm.

On top of that, there’s a broader question of whether using a mobile payment system, which requires its own version of “swiping,” is any easier or more convenient than taking out that piece of plastic.

For example, consumers still need to carry a physical form of identification (the mobile driver’s license doesn’t appear to be in our near future). And they still need to carry some cash, since the occasional merchant insists upon it (ever try paying a babysitter with a digital wallet?).

Most important, while mobile commerce is gaining ground — transactions are expected to grow from $172 billion in 2012 to $600 billion in 2016, according to Gartner Inc. — thousands of merchants are still not equipped to accept mobile payments, making it harder for consumers to leave the credit cards at home.

Plus, the leather wallet has one distinct advantage: It doesn’t require a battery. Even a digital-wallet fanatic is “always going to want some kind of backup,” says Daryl Colwell, a vice president at MediaWhiz, a digital media agency.

If there’s good news for consumers, however, it’s that as retailers embrace mobile commerce they could be offering deals of all sorts as part of the formula, experts say. Think “instant” coupons or other offers, designed to trigger a last-minute purchase.

And just as retailers will offer shoppers a special one-time discount for signing up for an in-house credit card, they could do the same with a mobile-wallet platform.

Mr. Colwell believes it’s this sort of promotion that could ultimately make the mobile wallet a mainstream consumer reality. “As long as there’s a big incentive for shoppers to jump on board, they’re going to jump on board,” he says.

Comments

We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (5 of 7)

View all Comments »
    • We already use Mobile Wallets in Japan. We have since about 2005-2006. We call it Osaifu-keitai (Osaifu=wallet, keitai=cellphone). However it’s a little bit different.

      One big difference is I can use mine even when my phone is dead. But also applications for different cards (point cards, credit cards, train cards) are done separately but access the same chip. To choose what I want to pay with I just simply tell the cashier the card I wanna pay with and lay my phone on the scanner. The entire bottom of the scanner glows green or blue and makes a particular “beep.”

      I usually use my Suica, which is actually my train card. All ticket gates have FeLiCa(NFC) readers, I swipe when I go in and out, it calculates my fare and deducts from balance. I can reload my mobile suica with my bank account or credit cards, or with cash at a convenience store. Most people however use Suica cards (or Pasmo, Icoca, or some other)….all cards were developed separately but nowadays they are all seamlessly linked, and work for most railway companies (we have many in Japan). Also vending machines and stores near train stations often take Suica as payment. We can use our phones or train cards to pay.

      The system has taken off in that it is used in many places, but it hasn’t in that many Japanese are cautious to use it. This maybe comes from credit cards not being common here. They aren’t rare here, but people prefer cash. There is very little crime here, and merchants hate the fees payed to Visa, mastercard, JCB etc. so it tends to only be at convenience stores or big department stores. However people still tend not to use it. Also debit cards are not issued as a standard with bank accounts. We have cash cards, which is used to access that banks ATMs to withdraw/deposit money or wire money. People are cautious to use something electronic because the feel like they can’t feel their money so they can’t control it.

      I think NFC has huge potential in the US. However I think it’s gonna have a much slower start because of all this division. There needs to be a unified or mostly-unified system that works for everyone with set standards used by all mobile payment providers. This makes it easier for retailers to install equipment, and less confusing for consumers.

    • This wallet is clleray well made and looks like lasting longer than my last one. But it appears to be designed for non-UK bank notes so some notes (eg 20 pounds) protrude very slightly even when pushed down as far as they will go. It is also fiddly to open up when in a hurry. But it looks smart and easily fits in trouser pocket.

    • Bahh a volte non vi capisco qustee a mio parere sono immagini in game precalcolate, e della Wii.Anche perch un fottuto 360 fa decisamente di meglio.finalmente qualcosa di veramente decente a livello tecnico. Mario Galaxy e molto curato come titolo, ma altrettanto poco ricco di particolari e nemici su schermo. ma questo e voluto ovviamente come tutti i mario in 3D.Niente di cui sbalordirsi, e quello che avrebbero dovuto fare dall’inizio.Anche se devo ancora papire come ditte come la Capcom che ha sfornato RE4 su Gamecube, non riesca a proporre un titolo devente a distanza di 3 anni sulla Wii, contando che il Kit di sviluppo sostanzialmente e lo stesso.

    • After study a few of the blogposts on your site today, and I truly like your way of bogiglng. I added it to my bookmark web site list and will be checking back soon. Pls visit my website too and let me know what you think.

    • I just bought girl scout cookies from a six year old with a Square.

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MarketWatch - Stock Market Quotes, Business News, Financial News
Bulletin
Investor Alert

New York Markets Close in:

need to know
When do markets close for Labor Day?
Netflix's stock heads for sixth straight loss
44 million tried Apple Music in its first month
Alibaba shares to be used for $2 bln loan
Amazon to buy video software company

Stephen Colbert’s ‘Late Show’: Here’s what to expect

Hey, Twitter, is Jack Dorsey your CEO or what?

Tennis’s U.S. Open trots out grown-up ball people

What it’s like to play tennis with a ‘smart’ racket

Labor Day traffic will be the U.S.’s worst since 2008

Chinese Navy ships in U.S. territorial waters
Watch China’s 90-minute parade in 60 seconds
See photos of China's massive military parade
China markets close for war anniversary

Donald Trump stumbles during interview on foreign policy
Trump stumbles in interview on foreign policy
Trump signs Republican loyalty pledge
Carson and Trump: Their policy differences
Trump as president: Bound to be GREAT!
Businessmen have done poorly as presidents

Oops — Rick Perry says broken clock right once a day

My father wanted to divide his estate, but my sister took it all
My sister took all of my father’s estate

Obscure trading strategy draws Wall Street’s ire

Germany at fault in Europe’s refugee crisis
Immigration to Germany at highest since 1992
Chaos in Budapest as migrants rush trains
Father of drowned Syrian boy describes voyage

Six actors who were almost cast as James Bond

Facebook is most successful app, beating out Google, Apple
This is the most successful app ever


Does this survey confirm our worst fears about the sexes?
Does this confirm our worst fears about the sexes?

These are the college majors that are dying

They tangled with student debt all summer
College help for low-income families

O’Malley maps out large-scale service program
/conga/frontpage.html 354192

Markets »

44.99MDow Volume:
Avg Vol: 113.10M
Unchanged
194
Decliners
4498
Advancers
1705
Price Chg %Chg 1 Day
Range: 1 Day
  • 1 Day
  • 5 Days
  • 1 Month
  • 3 Months
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  • 1 Year
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Dow
/quotes/zigman/627449/realtime 16,078 -297 1.81%
Nasdaq
/quotes/zigman/12633936/realtime 4,678 -56 1.17%
S&P 500
/quotes/zigman/3870025/realtime 1,919 -33 1.67%
GlobalDow
/quotes/zigman/629063/realtime 2,280 -43 1.85%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/662444/delayed 1,121 -4 0.35%
Oil
/quotes/zigman/2331095/delayed 46.20 -0.55 1.18%
FTSE 100
/quotes/zigman/3173262/delayed 6,043 -151 2.44%
DAX
/quotes/zigman/2380246/delayed 10,038 -280 2.71%
CAC 40
/quotes/zigman/3173214/delayed 4,523 -131 2.81%
FTSE MIB
/quotes/zigman/1482176/delayed 21,473 -705 3.18%
IBEX 35
/quotes/zigman/2759620/delayed 9,822 -221 2.20%
Stoxx 600
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Asia Dow
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Nikkei 225
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Hang Seng
/quotes/zigman/2622475/delayed 20,841 -94 0.45%
Shanghai
/quotes/zigman/1859015/delayed 3,160 -6 0.20%
Sensex
/quotes/zigman/1652085/delayed 25,202 -563 2.18%
Singapore
/quotes/zigman/1709939/delayed 2,864 -43 1.47%
Euro
/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.11 +0.00 0.21%
Yen
/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 118.87 -1.21 1.00%
Pound
/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.52 -0.01 0.33%
Australia$
/quotes/zigman/16008115/realtime/sampled 0.69 -0.01 1.51%
DXY Index
/quotes/zigman/1652083/delayed 96.25 -0.15 0.16%
WSJ $ Idx
/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 88.88 +0.07 0.08%
U.S. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866666/realtime 2.12 -0.04 1.71%
German 10y
/quotes/zigman/15866409/realtime 0.67 -0.05 7.51%
Italy 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866497/realtime 1.88 -0.04 2.06%
Spain 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866444/realtime 2.08 -0.03 1.41%
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Japan 10yr
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Crude Oil
/quotes/zigman/2331095/delayed 46 -1 1.18%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/662444/delayed 1,121 -4 0.35%
Corn
/quotes/zigman/7599553/delayed 363 +1 0.28%
DJIA F
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S&P F
/quotes/zigman/30356461/delayed 1,920 -26 1.34%
Silver
/quotes/zigman/3134148/delayed 15 0 0.90%

Quotes

Symbol Price Change % Change
FB /quotes/zigman/9962609/composite 87.45 -0.70 -0.79%
AAPL /quotes/zigman/68270/composite 108.69 -1.68 -1.52%
GOOG /quotes/zigman/30194416/composite 598.00 -8.25 -1.36%
BAC /quotes/zigman/190927/composite 15.55 -0.40 -2.48%
C /quotes/zigman/5065548/composite 50.44 -1.35 -2.61%
F /quotes/zigman/264304/composite 13.45 -0.40 -2.85%
T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite 32.49 -0.55 -1.66%
BP /quotes/zigman/247026/composite 30.73 -1.68 -5.18%
GE /quotes/zigman/227468/composite 23.92 -0.60 -2.43%
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5 yr CD
1.5%
2 yr CD
0.8%
1 yr CD
0.6%
MMA $10K+
0.3%
MMA $50K+
0.4%

National averages from Bankrate.com

You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.62% 11.62% 11.53%
Business 12.85% 12.85% 12.85%
Student 13.14% 13.14% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.12% 14.12% 14.00%
Airline 15.10% 15.10% 15.15%
Reward 15.14% 15.14% 14.99%
Cash Back 15.27% 15.27% 15.26%
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Bad Credit 22.73% 22.73% 22.48%
Source:CreditCards.com

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