The Mobile Wallet: Game or no game?


I love my debit card. I’ll go for weeks without any cash in my wallet, relying solely on a piece of plastic. Groceries, pop machines, every point of sale takes plastic these days. But, as I suspect we all know will arrive soon enough, that paper money and those plastic debit and credit cards will disappear in favour of the mobile wallet. In simple terms, your phone.

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It sounds great. Forget carrying 14 credit cards, one or more for each of the banks and department stores you frequent. Forget the wads of cash and coin, the stack of loyalty cards, the jumble of wrinkled coupons. Simply carry your phone.

But, on the other hand, it does make me nervous. If, or shall I say when, you lose your phone, you’ll have really lost everything. Not just your ability to update your Twitter status with “omg i just lost my phone,” but also all of your phone numbers, your hourly schedule for the upcoming year, all the family birthdays and anniversaries, all your credit card numbers, and with that, your ability to call or pay someone to take you home.

 

For me to feel a little better about using one, I’ll need a thumbprint scanner for identity verification, automatic screen locking (except for a ‘return to this location’ message), a phone locater GPS that doesn’t automatically provide free geographic information to every social network you’ve refused that feature to, and cleverly hidden wings that open up automatically a la transformers to fly my tiny little weightless phone back into my pocket.

From a researcher’s perspective though, welcome to the land of opportunity.  By that time, everyone will have a phone, including your gramma and your techno-resistant sibling, with sufficient maneuverability and functionality to take a ten minute smart phone survey without wanting to whip the bugger against the nearest brick wall until every piece is smaller than the tiniest lego piece. Is that drool coming out of your mouth?

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