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US Mobile Wallet Market Insight

  • 20 pages, published in December 2013
  • By Frost & Sullivan
  • Report Number: 1939376

Summary

Table of Contents

From Payments to Marketing and Customer Relationship Management

A wide range of financial services are presently being offered through the mobile channel in the United States. These include mobile banking services, peer-to-peer remittance services, mobile shopping services, and price comparison services. This Frost & Sullivan’s strategic insight presents an analysis of the key trends in the United States' mobile wallet market. This insight also provides a brief overview of other payment-related value-added-services (VAS) that can be offered through the mobile channel.

Introduction

Adoption of mobile banking and mobile payments continues to increase rapidly in the United States. Mobile wallets have emerged as an important technology to deliver comprehensive mobile payment services to consumers. This Frost & Sullivan insight presents an analysis of the US mobile wallet market. Specifically, this insight will cover the following topics:
• Defining mobile wallets—consumer functionality, benefits, types, and service features
• Value chain analysis—key industry participants, platform components, and technology architecture
• Strategic roadmap for mobile wallets—short-term and long-term opportunity for mobile wallets
• Focus on the revenue opportunity—couponing, loyalty programs, etc.
• Conclusions—the last word

Mobile wallets are part of the overall mobile financial services market. They fall under the category of “mobile payments” and are especially used for local and remote mobile payments.

Market Overview and Key Definitions

Mobile Wallets
A mobile wallet is an on-device mobile application that allows the consumer to use their phones for local and remote payment transactions. However, most mobile wallet applications are designed to be used for many other applications, including ticketing, couponing, payments, offers and marketing, and banking. According to the Mobey Forum, an industry association for financial institutions operating in mobile financial services, a mobile wallet is a functionality on a mobile device that can securely interact with digitized valuables (or digital assets). There are several non-application-based mobile mechanisms that can be used to provide mobile wallet services. For example, short messaging service (SMS) or Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) can be used to provide mobile wallet services (such as mobile payments). Therefore, by considering mobile wallets as a set of functionalities, all these non-application-based implementation types can and should be considered. A “digitized valuable” can include both financial and non-financial assets. Therefore, it is important to develop open mobile wallet implementations that will allow consumers to store and manage various types of digital assets (or credentials) on their mobile devices or using cloud computing.

Mobile Wallet Functionality and Benefits
Leveraging the benefits of a connected and converged mobile experience to bring in efficiency, transparency, and security to different types of payment methods is the main driving force behind present m-wallet initiatives. From a consumer perspective, it is important to deliver clear, tangible benefits with m-wallets that can differentiate mobile wallets from plastic cards-based payments.

Types of Mobile Wallets
Near Field Communications (NFC), as well as barcodes and quick response (QR) codes are the two main approaches used in the United States for local payments. Non-NFC-based implementations may have taken a small, early lead in the US mobile wallet markets. However, Isis—the NFC-based mobile wallet initiative that is backed by three out of four tier-I mobile operators in the United States—is expected to become a popular mobile wallet offering in the next three to five years. There are several ways in which mobile operators can help drive adoption of Isis. This includes providing marketing support and ensuring that NFC handsets are made available to consumers on attractive terms. Other “hybrid” types of implementations are also being evaluated, in order to combine the features of NFC and secure cloud computing to deliver innovative mobile payment services.

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