Making the Mobile Wallet Mainstream Requires a New Approach

By Rob Stringer, Cortex MCP

While the reach of mobile devices has grown dramatically in recent years, we’ve failed to realize the promise of using this ubiquitous device as a mobile wallet.

There are many reason for this lack of adoption, and the following reviews the shortcomings of past and current attempts at mobile wallet implementations — and more importantly, highlights new technologies needed to unlock the promise of mobile payments.

One highly visible approach is near field communications using an on-device secure element (SE), in which the user’s credit card is stored on the phone inside a purposefully-designed SE chip. The SE-based mobile commerce initiatives have failed to achieve mainstream use, due in large part to high cost, bureaucratic and political issues in accessing the SE chip, and the need for special hardware.

Alternatives are cloud-based mobile payments, which involve storing a user’s payment data in the cloud rather than on the mobile device, eliminating the need for the SE. Three of the more prevalent cloud-based mobile payment methods include the “check-in,” “push” and “Host Card Emulation” (HCE).

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Posted by Rob Stringer on May 29, 2014