Google is currently considering new ways to drive further adoption of its payments Wallet in the US, with Bloomberg suggesting that the company is planning to share revenue with carriers such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T to encourage their customers to embrace
the new payments technology.
Other high profile partnerships in the mobile payments industry have shown that these relationships can bring a project to market more quickly, providing access to an infrastructure that even a large, global company would struggle to support alone.
Google’s rumoured ‘revenue share’ approach indicates that the company is hoping to more rapidly advance consumer adoption. The relatively closed-nature of the Google Wallet could be a significant factor in its lack of mass take-up. If a payments solution
is only supported on a small number of mobile devices and one mobile network, enthusiastic, potential customers could be faced with buying a whole new phone or switching operators to use the technology.
To take advantage of the Google Wallet in-store, you must have an Android NFC phone on the Sprint Nexus 4G network, with the likelihood being that later adopters will wait to upgrade their contracts before using the payments system. If you don’t make it
easy for a customer to use a new technology, however exciting it is, adoption will inevitably be a slow-burner.
However, many would argue that this assessment is too one-sided. Google is enthusiastic about the Wallet’s progress to date, and it’s undeniable that the mobile payments market in general has drawn a number of serious competitors. These include established
companies like Visa and O2, who are aiming to establish themselves early in a market which is set to grow significantly. Similarly, although other closed-loop systems like the Starbucks payments app have been brought to market successfully, even these players
are yet to enjoy the kind of mass adoption which would make their use commonplace in the UK and further afield.
As with everything in the mobile payments race, the question really boils down to customer opinion. Take-up will be driven by consumers who see value in taking these services and an enhanced customer experience over more traditional payment methods – therefore,
surely speedy innovation is needed if speedy adoption is required?
James Richards - Director, Mobile - Intelligent Environments