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Your Phone May Be the Safest Wallet You've Ever Owned!
By: Ted Curtin
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SPECIAL REPORT: Part 5 of an in-depth, five-part series capturing key issues and emerging trends from the 2011 Mobile Marketing Association Global Forum in NY.
It's The Next Mobile Frontier

Mobile gives marketers an unprecedented ability to connect with consumers in meaningful ways with personalized relevance and valuable information. Consumers are never more than an arm’s length away and intimately connected to their phones as communication devices, social media tools, and even publishing platforms. It’s up to marketers to translate this opportunity into contextual relevance that adds value, simplicity, security, and functionality to the user’s hectic life. Now, marketers and banks alike are about to put their money where your mobile is.

The Progress
We’re quickly moving from simple (mobile) M-payments, where consumers use their smartphones to make mobile web payments, to mobile contactless payments utilizing Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that speaks to specifically designed terminal machines already in place at select major retail locations like CVS, McDonald's, Subway, Macy’s, and American Eagle stores in various test markets. Soon, we’ll see more complex transactions with emerging Person-to-Person M-payments, where people can independently authorize transactions just as if they were cash. Maybe you’ll “P-to P” $10 for your kid to buy some ice cream at the corner store or maybe you’ll pay up on that bet you lost when you wagered $20 that paper money would never go out of style.

Either way, the days of paper money and plastic card dominance are surely numbered. Between cash, plastic credit cards, and vinyl records, only record albums show any promise of resurgence.

The Big Issue: Security
If you lose your wallet, you can say goodbye to all of your cash. Your credit card numbers and CV codes are an open book. Most likely, your driver’s license number and all sorts of additional personal information are now compromised. With a mobile wallet, your phone itself is likely locked and password protected. Invincible? Maybe not, but additional layers of encryption and security for the actual data pretty much guarantee that your information is safe. You also need a PIN number to activate mobile wallet functionality and, just like your credit cards, your mobile wallet functionality can be decommissioned. If you’re like most people, the fact is that you’d probably realize that your phone was lost before noticing that your wallet was missing.

Mobile Wallet

The technology is still in its early stages. Carriers and financial institutions are not pushing the service ahead of necessary security protocols, widespread terminal availability, and infrastructure development, but the obvious convenience and consumer benefits will surely drive increased demand for the service.

The Promise
“Benefits,” “Convenience,” and “Ease of Use” are the three strongest drivers of mobile app success, according to Anne Frisbie, VP North America, InMobi. Solid mobile wallet functionality offers all of these and more. We already see enormous growth in electronic payments over the Web. Mobile payment options have tremendous appeal, especially to younger demographic segments.

With device and transactional security measures in place, mobile wallet technology is poised to change the way we transact business and transfer money in ways that we haven’t seen since the first bank cards (later called credit cards) were launched in the late 1970s.

Previous MMA Forum Coverage: 
“Is That a Brand in Your Pocket?”
“Can Mobile Save Print”
“Relevancy Isn't Optional Anymore”
“Top 3 Multicultural Mobile Marketing Mistakes”

MMA Global Forum

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About the Author
Ted Curtin is a recognized strategic marketing leader with over 22 years experience covering online and offline marketing channels. Follow him on Twitter or at TedCurtin.com
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