There are tons of wallets out there for virtually anyone. Bi-fold, tri-fold, leather, metal, hand-made, machine-made, expensive, REALLY expensive, and so many more, but not a single one of these has anything against the newest wallet currently under development, the smartphone. We live in a world where I can grab my phone, access my Starbucks app, and order a coffee for pick up so that I can stay awake during the midnight premiere of a movie whose ticket I purchased on fandango…with my phone.
The question that needs an answer is this; 10 years from now will we still have these annoying bricks in our back pocket that quite frankly hurt after sitting at a desk all day? I can’t speak for the ladies, but I’m sure it can get in the way when you’re rummaging through your purse to turn off your ringer during a meeting.
Let’s think of physical products we have had in the past that have been consumed by the digital world: CD’s, DVD’s, mail, family photos, basically any consumer product short of food and housing. Why is it crazy to assume our wallets will be picked up by this trend in the next 10 years?
Security. This is the biggest barrier to turning that old, leather thing into a bunch of digital 1’s and 0’s on your phone. Sure, we all entered our credit card info on the Starbucks app when we bought that coffee, but are we ready to have our phone literally become our credit card? Press an app, enter a password, and there is all your card information. Scary, huh? Here’s a rough statistic I’ve observed in my life, and in others around me. We realize that we’ve misplaced our phones 12x faster, on average, than when we’ve lost our wallet.
Companies like PayPal, First Data, etc… make billions a year by making it safe for us to use our card information online. Credit card companies find trends in our spending by products, geography, and who knows what else to make sure we are the ones using our card (I’ve been called by AMEX twice, once for something I bought and another for something I didn’t… they caught the guy). Security is tightening up and becoming smarter and will no longer be such a scary barrier to our new wallets.
The payment method that has traditionally lagged behind the consumer has caught up, and is now slowly moving ahead of the consumer and product themselves. How will you tailor your business’ revenue stream to accommodate this shift in payment methods?