UK wireless operator O2 is to discontinue its mobile wallet eighteen months after it was officially launched.
Sad demise - the Prepaid Card product existed before this but was relaunched 18 months ago alongside the partner Wallet Application. I'd see this as a precursor for adopting a mobile wallet offering from WEVE (a JV company of which Telefonica/O2 are one
of the major partners).
Contrary to the information detailed in the article Cardholders will have any remainder left on their account refunded via cheque post 31st March 2014.
@Matt: "Cardholders will have any remainder left on their account refunded
via cheque". (my highlight)
Need I say more?
If not bank accounts, mobile wallet customers have to have registered their credit or debit or prepaid cards with the mobile wallet provider, otherwise what funding method would the mobile wallet use? Refunds could be made electronically but they are being
made via paper cheques.
If wannable cash- and cheque-killers like mobile wallets themselves have to use cheques, why won't the common man? This explains why mobile wallets are dying. If this is what @TimT meant by his emphasis on cheque, I fully agree.
perhaps the use of cheques as repayment method is due to the fact that the repayment does not happen until the customer has presented the cheque for clearance. Customers with smaller amounts on their accounts may not bother - and thus the operator saves
@AFinextraMember: One more advantage of cheques, I guess! Just joking, since most accounting standards - including GAAP - require a company to make a provision for the cheque amount in its books of accounts as soon as it issues a cheque, so there might really
be no such advantage.
When the cheque validity period is exhausted, the issuer can reebook the amount into profits! So - in many cases where companies have overcharged customers and get a court order to repay to customers, they are not allowed to use another means, instead they
need to use the same payment method that was originally used. If a card payment - they need to credit the card, if a transfer, they need to make a transfer... I guess that O2 wallet did not top up via cheques - so why use them now?
Odd that the demise of a Mobile wallet brings up a lively discussion around cheque use.
Interestingly - Cheque clearing is now moving towards Mobile phone enabled image capture and presentment in the UK. A recent C&CCC newsletter highlighted not only the continuing poplularity of the cheque as a payment instrument, but also that cheque clearing via mobile
phone image capture and transmission was on its way to the UK. Mobile phone cheque (check) image capture services have existed in the USA for some time now.
Evolution - not revolution may be the order of the day cash as cheque volumes continue to fall but persist. Could O2 Wallet refund cheques be cleared using Mobile Cheque image capture - we will see?
@AFinextraMember: From personal experience, the payer is obliged to issue a new cheque if the older cheque has expired before being cashed. IMHO, rebooking profits might not be so straight forward.
@DavidA: I'm sure O2's refund cheque can be processed via Mobile RDC. The very fact that we're asking what-if questions about cheques and mobile even in the context of mobile wallet is adequate testimony that Mobile RDC solves a real pain point. No wonder
it's one of the few killer mobile banking apps in USA and I'm sure it will become one in UK as well!
CompetitiveNew York City, NY (USA)
© Finextra Research 2014