Mobile Wallets: Taking the World By Storm

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It’s no secret that we live in an increasingly global society. From social media to Miss Universe to the World Cup, we are all interconnected. Advancements in technology are no longer separated by location or culture. This truth expands to the world of commerce as well—particularly when it comes to the mobile wallet.

In recent years, mobile wallet creation and usage have been increasing exponentially. Currently, China is the best example of a near-cashless society. WeChat and AliPay are the most popular forms of mobile payment, and they are used by over 90% percent of the population. In India, popular e-wallet, Tez, was recently re-branded as Google Pay. Its 55 million users have made over 750 million transactions over the past year. In Australia, over 57 million mobile wallet transactions, totaling $1.83 billion, were made within the last two years.

And those are just a few examples. While various companies have created their own mobile payment apps, the big three—Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay—are growing to be the most available mobile wallets across the globe. Currently, they are active in 27, 22, and 25 countries, respectively. (View full list here.)

So why have mobile wallets been so successful in such a wide a variety of different locations?

  1. Convenience and ease. As smartphone usage skyrockets, so does the demand for new apps and capabilities. From Uber to Starbucks order-ahead, our mobile devices are quickly becoming a jack-of-all-trades. The mobile wallet is just an expansion of the idea that our phones can now do practically everything. No need for fishing around for change, typing in pins or giving signatures—mobile wallets make purchases quick and easy.

  2. Innovative capabilities. Mobile wallets do so much more than enable you to make payments. They are not strictly a replacement for cash or looking to “disrupt the credit card industry”. As the Jennifer Bailey, VP of Apple,  recently said in an interview: "We don't sit around and think about, what industry should we disrupt?' — we think about, what great customer experiences can we develop?’” More than just payments, mobile wallets allow for a positive experience during variety of activities. Both Apple and Google currently support mobile tickets, boarding passes, coupons, and loyalty cards, with the goal of improving our experiences during our day-to-day  activities.

  3. A solution to real-world problems. The mobile wallet also provides innovative solutions to real world scenarios. Splitting the bill during a night out with friends? You can now easily transfer funds with the mobile wallet. Forget your ID in your dorm room? Apple is developing a new student ID that is housed in the mobile wallet, and can be used to pay for meals and access other campus resources. Additionally, mobile Metrocards and bus passes are being explored as well. Some cities, like London and Milan, have already implemented this concept into their transit system. (Learn more here.)

With all of these benefits and possibilities, it’s no surprise that mobile wallets are taking the world by storm. As this mobile technology is increasingly adopted by consumers and businesses worldwide, the truth becomes evident: we are at the onset of a global mobile wallet revolution.

Ariana Alessandri