06 December 2016
Visit aciworldwide.com

O2 shuts down mobile wallet

09 January 2014  |  12885 views  |  9 STOP

UK wireless operator O2 is to discontinue its mobile wallet eighteen months after it was officially launched.

The O2 wallet functionality included P2P payments, barcode searches for online price comparison shopping, daily discounts from major retailers (including Debenhams, Comet, Sainsbury's Direct, and Tesco Direct), debit card and cash onboarding, and a Visa pre-paid card for online and high street shopping.

In a statement on the O2 Money Website, the mobile operator says: "When we launched the O2 Wallet 18 months ago we were one of the first mobile wallets around. Since then lots has changed for us, the market and our customers. So, we've decided to close the O2 Wallet to give us time to look into new and better ways to help people manage their money on the move, both in the UK and abroad."

The telco has not released any figures regarding customer numbers or transaction volumes for the Wallet during its eighteen-month lifetime.

Users will need to empty their wallets by 31 March when the account will be officially suspended.

Comments: (9)

Matt Scott
Matt Scott - NCR Corporation - London | 09 January, 2014, 20:51

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.

1 thumb up! 1 thumb up! (Log in to thumb up)
Tim Tyler
Tim Tyler - Misys - London | 10 January, 2014, 09:49

@Matt: "Cardholders will have any remainder left on their account refunded via cheque". (my highlight)

Need I say more?

1 thumb up! 1 thumb up! (Log in to thumb up)
Matt Scott
Matt Scott - NCR Corporation - London | 10 January, 2014, 10:38 Did I suggest the use of cheques - no. I was merely highlighting that remainder balances will be returned to customers. Use of cheques for this purpose is standard practice in this scenario as there isn't a viable alternative (Cardholders may not have registered bank account and sort code data with the issuer so Faster Payments/BACS is not an all encompassing option to solve the refund repayment issue).
Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups! (Log in to thumb up)
Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 10 January, 2014, 16:50

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.

Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups! (Log in to thumb up)
A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 12 January, 2014, 11:18

Dear Sirs,

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 money.

Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups! (Log in to thumb up)
Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 12 January, 2014, 11:47

@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. 

Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups! (Log in to thumb up)
A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 12 January, 2014, 14:23

Dear Sirs

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?

Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups! (Log in to thumb up)
David Abbott
David Abbott - PayCommerce - chelmsford | 15 January, 2014, 15:17

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?

Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups! (Log in to thumb up)
Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 15 January, 2014, 15:55

@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!

Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups! (Log in to thumb up)
Comment on this story (membership required)

Finextra news in your inbox

For Finextra's free daily newsletter, breaking news flashes and weekly jobs board: sign up now

Related stories

AmEx invests in iZettle; O2 launches PINpad for mobile payments

AmEx invests in iZettle; O2 launches PINpad for mobile payments

23 October 2012  |  10367 views  |  0 comments | 14 tweets | 3 linkedin
O2 tests mobile wallet in small Welsh village

O2 tests mobile wallet in small Welsh village

22 June 2012  |  6451 views  |  1 comments
UK wireless operator O2 launches mobile wallet

UK wireless operator O2 launches mobile wallet

26 April 2012  |  12589 views  |  0 comments
O2 contracts suppliers for mobile wallet launch

O2 contracts suppliers for mobile wallet launch

19 May 2011  |  9769 views  |  0 comments
O2 rolls out P2P payment apps

O2 rolls out P2P payment apps

29 March 2011  |  9294 views  |  1 comments
O2 seeks UK license for mobile money play

O2 seeks UK license for mobile money play

03 February 2011  |  12568 views  |  0 comments
Mobile phone giant O2 moves into personal finance

Mobile phone giant O2 moves into personal finance

15 July 2009  |  11983 views  |  0 comments

Related blogs

Create a blog about this story (membership required)
Visit VocaLink.comFind out moreVisit capgemini.com

Who is commenting?

Top topics

Most viewed Most shared
Royal Mint to issue digital goldRoyal Mint to issue digital gold
6949 views comments | 23 tweets | 24 linkedin
Bank CEOs fret about ROI as startups drive IT arms raceBank CEOs fret about ROI as startups drive...
6065 views comments | 16 tweets | 21 linkedin
hands typing furiouslyBanking UX Design Challenges and Opportuni...
5944 views 0 | 12 tweets | 5 linkedin
OCC to offer fintech firms bank charter statusOCC to offer fintech firms bank charter st...
5919 views comments | 22 tweets | 15 linkedin
Amazon signs up tech firms to financial services cloud programmeAmazon signs up tech firms to financial se...
5905 views comments | 14 tweets | 15 linkedin

Featured job

Find your next job