Mobile Wallet Foundation – Bell, Rogers and Telus have announced that they will be providing a nationwide payments solution across all their mobile networks – a sort of Interac for mobile devices in Canada via a group they are calling Enstream.
Credit must be given (pun intended) to the mobile companies for putting a slightly different spin on their services, but are they really trying anything new? This Zoompass ‘digital wallet’ solution is only a peer to peer payment solution at present. One has to put money into an account and can then pay it to other subscribers. Both peers need to have subscribed and have the software installed on their phone. There is also an NFC credit card involved – one of many many such cards in Canada.
The benefits Enstream itself touts are somewhat weak, and there are holes in the program.
- There are already multiple viable options for potential users of this service already. Sure it might make it simpler for novice users to use this service, but they’re not going to pay a personal debt with their mobile.
- Who wants another declining balance account where they can forget their money? People will be like squirrels with nuts hidden everywhere –Giftcards, Starbucks Card, Zoompass account – where does it end? Why not leave it in one place – your bank account?
- This solution is too complex. One has to download software to their phone (black magic to the masses), establish an account, set another login and password, keep funds in the account, make sure their bank account/credit account is linked, pay the bill, and get their peers to do the same. THEN they pay 50 cents or $0.65 for the privelege to send $20 to their pal – OR – they wait until they have $20 from their next ATM visit and give it to them. Tough choice.
It’s understandable that the mobile companies want to get in on the mobile wallet revolution, and are trying to lay the foundation for merchant payments, of course, but the only way this sort of solution is going to gain acceptance is if:
- it can be done with current or easily upgradable and /or obtainable technology (no extra stuff – just the mobile device)
- it is so simple to do that your mother can do it in a queue in front of 10 other people
- the cost of completing it are the same as current electronic payments (to the consumer it seems ‘free’)
- there is no additional billing structure, logins, accounts or other details to remember other than a simple wallet PIN
- it works 99.5% of the time without a hitch in under 5 seconds
This organization is looking to extend the mobile footprint much like Bell tried to expand their into downloadable movies. It’s logical, but it’s not a fundamental change, a shift which is needed. Establishing a mobile wallet is a heady challenge, and a laudable one at that, but it will probably take a game changing twist to make it happen. A real twist. It’s not about the technology – the CEO of Enstream came from the Esso Paypass, program so he has seen the technology can work.
Books – It’s a great idea to install a kiosk to buy books online, or add digital bookselling. Few take it to a completely new level. It’s pushing the envelope, but if there are real benefits to clients, this may be where the payoffs lie.