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MasterCard exec: Mobile wallets are about experiences, not payments

June 12, 2013

NEW YORK – A MasterCard executive at the 2013 MultiScreen Summit said focusing on payments is only the beginning of the consumer journey for mobile and digital wallets to take off.

During the “Panel Debate: What is the Anatomy of a Wallet?” executives from MasterCard, Verifone, Boku and PayPal discussed the state of mobile payments and digital wallets. The session was moderated by Karen Webster, CEO of Market Platform Dynamics.

“At the end of the day, the opportunity before us is about the consumer, the purchase and the experience,” said Ken Moy, U.S. emerging payments lead at MasterCard, Purchase, NY.

“We’re in the first inning of this game,” he said. “From a payment services perspective, we’re focusing on payments, but that’s really just the beginning of the journey. The journey is about how these smart devices – the most personal items for consumers – become more of a companion for those consumers and create experiences that consumers come to enjoy and come to know.”

Leading the pack
According to Mr. Moy, finding the right mobile payment technology varies by demographic and consumer context.

For example, near-field communications has been slow to take off in the United States. However, in markets such as Asia, the technology has been much faster to take off and plays an important role in Mastercard’s overall mobile strategy.

Other options such as QR codes can also fuel mobile payments. It is all about which technologies are most persistent in a consumer’s life.

Instead of focusing on the technology, marketers should be looking at how assured consumers feel when they make a mobile payment and educating consumers on all the different options out there.

Data is king
According to Scott Hendrickson, head of advertising solutions at PayPal, San Jose, data is core to nailing mobile payments.

PayPal has positioned its in-store payments strategy around two options – letting consumers pay by entering in a PIN number or by swiping a card that is tied to their account.

Additionally, the line between the consumer and merchant value proposition with mobile wallets is coming closer together.

Merchants that are able to deliver relevant offers are valued by consumers as well.

Fifty-two percent of PayPal’s mobile transactions are incremental and unplanned, which basically helps merchants anticipate what a consumer needs before they know it.

There are a lot of different use cases around mobile wallets besides just payments such as mobile coupons or a hub for loyalty cards that consumers are interested in.

However, asking consumers to use a digital wallet still needs greater adoption and education.

“When you think about the consumer experience, there are still some gaps that are out there,” Mr. Hendrickson said.

“At the core of all of that is a really great data set, and that’s something that obviously everyone talks about and it’s really important, but when you think about all the data that eBay and PayPal have to deliver more relevant recommendations and offers that’s really important,” he said.

“Everyone talks about it, but who can actually execute on it?”

Final Take

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