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Wocket touts security, but smartphones make gains

July 15, 2014

0714Wocketreader-card_opt185A company that makes a device for storing credit card information claims to have a  security advantage, but smartphones are gaining ground in that area.

The Wocket from Shelton, CT-based NXT-ID promises the ability to store nearly all of a consumer’s personal ID cards, membership cards and payment cards on a single device separate from a smartphone. A key feature of the device is that it is secured biometrically, according to Laurence Savin, a contractor who handles marketing for the Wocket.

“Potentially there is a place for both mobile wallets on smartphones and the Wocket,” Mr. Savin said. “The Wocket currently does not support touchless payments. There are still a lot of questions about security with that form of payment.”

The Wocket comes in two parts: a device that stores all the relevant information, and a plastic card that picks up the information and is then swiped like a credit card in a reader. It retails from for $149.99.

Past and future wallets
The Wocket is an interesting blend of the wallet of the past and the wallet of the future, said Alex Campbell, co-founder and chief innovation offer at Vibes, a Chicago-based mobile marketing specialist.

“It’s a great showcase of the levels of security we’ll see on our mobile devices in the years to come,” Mr. Campbell said. “We already see some of this kind of security being built into phones today. I think the key will be to use security that doesn’t create obstacles for the user.”

Mr. Campbell noted that Apple’s Passbook wallet requires the user to know his or her phone PIN, but it doesn’t add friction for the consumer.

“It makes for a secure, yet simple experience, which is extremely important in mobile,” he said.

0714WocketFacebook400NXT-ID is scheduled to launch its first social-media campaign for the Wocket on July 18 with a “Show us your wallet” effort on Facebook that asks consumers to send in photos of their “fat, ugly” old wallets with a chance to win a Wocket pre-loaded with a MasterCard gift card and other prizes. Consumers will also be able to activate the campaign through Twitter and Instagram.

While NXT-ID has traditionally targeted the Wocket to professional males, the Facebook effort will target women as well, Mr. Savin said. The product is somewhat masculine in appearance, he said.

“In this campaign we are also targeting females, not only as users but also as possible gifts for males. It is a male-looking product — it’s not a purse.”

0714Wocketcardview-big_opt400Security a top issue
Security remains a top concern for consumers globally in conducting mobile commerce, according to recent research from e-payments platform PayPal.

Fears about payment details being stolen outpace all other e-payment concerns in most countries, with 57 percent of respondents to the PayPal survey citing that as the most significant annoyance in online shopping. In the U.S., concern about theft of payment data was relatively low at 46 percent, compared with other countries (see story).

As consumers grow more accustomed to mobilizing the items in their wallets, security will continue to be a top issue – for both marketers and consumers, said Yoni Solomon, product marketing leader at Vibes.

“I believe the ultimate digital wallet [both for payment and coupons/loyalty cards/tickets] will inevitably be part of a consumer’s mobile device,” said Mr. Solomon. “That being said, Wocket is a good example of the kind of security measures we may see from mobile devices in order to make that mobile wallet dream a reality.

“We’re already seeing the combination of biometrics [fingerprint scanning] and PIN numbers with the iPhone 5 – expect that combination to become the norm in the future. There’s no doubt consumers are storing more information on their smartphones than ever before – which means our devices will need more sophisticated security capabilities, too.”

Final take

Mark Hamstra is content director at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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