Have you ever thought about how awkward first dates really are? You barely know the person, probably are going to be short for questions and comments, and chances are you are extremely nervous because you want to make a good impression. But we’ve all been there and gone to dinner with that guy from the accounting department or the girl from the coffee shop. I’m also sure we’ve all had to deal with the utter shock and dismay when you reach to offer to pay for the bill and the only thing in your back pocket is a note from your mother asking you to turn the lights off when you get home. You’ve just successfully eliminated all chances of a second date. Imagine how much perspiration would be saved if you could just pay for the meal with your cell phone. You would never “forget your wallet” again as your mobile device is likely glued to your left hand. Lucky for all you first daters, this is actually going to be a possibility. Lucky for the marketers, mobile payment systems are a whole new space to explore and new technology to utilize.
Google Mobile Wallet
Google has announced their NFC- based Google Wallet, which is a mobile payment system designed to allow users to pay for retail items with their phone just by tapping. Google has teamed up with giants such as Subway, Macy’s and MasterCard. The partnership with MasterCard in particular will allow Google Wallet users to pay at any PayPass contactless system already installed. Payment isn’t the only draw to this wallet; by tapping at locations consumers would receive offers and promotions directly to their mobile device otherwise known as Google Offers. While trials are underway in NYC and San Francisco, Google is hoping for a full release this summer. We can only imagine what’s next: boarding passes, SIN cards, gametes. Regardless what it is, I’m sure Google will make it happen.
Visa developed this contactless card to compete with MasterCard’s PayPass but has not teamed up with DeviceFidelity to apply a mobile twist. They applied the smart chip technology from the card into mobile devices so that users just need to select the icon and wave their device over the payment system. Their pilot project is taking place in LA and New York transit systems including taxis. Their objective is making Visa usage more efficient and secure while eliminating cash handling for transit operators. Furthermore, it saves transit riders from scavenging the streets for those additional pennies to make the accurate change to ride the rail.
Apple + Square
As Google Mobile Wallet and Visa Pay Wave are in the process of creating more efficient processing systems, Apple and others are keeping it creative with a temporary solution, Square. This nifty device was developed to ease online payments for consumers purchasing with their iPad or iPhone or other mobile device. Merchants develop an account for a small few and users just buy the device for $10 allowing quick and easy credit card payments on-the-go. By pairing this with location based services, consumers will be able to walk by a retail store, receive an offer that blows them away and pay for it all through their handheld mobile device. Talk about handy.
Mobile payment systems not only make shopping easier for customers but more efficient and productive for merchants as transactions will be faster, safer and less fraudulent. Furthermore, it is developing a whole new customer experience as its cool, unique and fun to be spending money. Google Mobile Wallet has broken ground with this technology and has created a space, which allows for almost anything to go mobile. As marketers, there are opportunities to target these customers into retail locations that are housing the contactless payment systems and offering them deals. Now that we know where payment systems are headed, you better go trade in your best goat for the newest iPhone.