MWC is going full speed in Barcelona and each day has its new payment solution, mobile wallet, magic integrator. I was particularly interested in hearing more from Isis, the Super PAC of US mobile networks (AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless).
ISIS wallet solution starts with a list of cards, based on the real world wallet paradigm. This is based on a constraint of the real world. All your cards have to physically be present in your wallet and you choose them based on the provider (hence the leather wallet cards organization). This requires a particular thinking on the user side, reviewing cash level and benefit of each card vs the payment to be made.
Note: the feed is interesting, I could not find much details. It seems like people will be able to follow businesses for offers and information.
Google Wallet follows a rather similar scheme, with cards put upfront, and a swipeable Wallet. The history is the equivalent of the receipts mess in the wallet, though in a much organised way.
For me, this shows either in the best case a conservative fear of changing things for customers or in the worst case a difficulty to understand how much the mobile platform offers. Because the wallet looked like this for centuries does not mean it is supposed to look like this on a mobile.
It may be cliché but worth repeating:
A modern cell phone has more computer power than all of NASA back in 1969, when it placed two astronauts on the moon.
I would add that: not only that but it has an incredible array of captors: camera, GPS,etc.. and access to information and computing power via internet connectivity.
Lets use Square Card Case as an example:
From the outside it looks just the same: Wallet (with skeuomorphism – thanks @aden_76 for the word), Slots, Card. Except they are not Credit Card, they are Store Cards…. As I have said before Card Case is built around the Buying Experience, not the Payment Experience so it makes sense they highlight merchants and products.
“But wait, there are tons of merchants, how would they fit on my phone screen?” Why would they need to all be on your screen? The merchants’ cards can dynamically adjust based on location, time during the day (restaurants put forward during lunch time), past buying experience. Sponsored merchants could be given a preferred space in the wallet.
This is one possibility, but there are others. As Brett King pointed out in Mobile Banking vs. The Mobile Wallet
Whether it is simply the fact that I can see my balance before and after I make a payment (not possible with plastic, cheques or cash) or whether you can start to advise me day-to-day on how to utilize my money better – the opportunity for mobile is not the wallet, and not mobile banking. It is re-imagining the utility of banking from a mobile perspective.
The technology offer us the opportunity to help people in doing what they currently almost without thinking try to do (badly). What is my balance, what are the advantages of each card, what should I pay with? Not only a big part of this logic is better computed by a machine than by a person, but a well designed UI can inform and help in this decision.
Instead of showing cards the mobile wallet could show payment options cost and opportunities.
I am hopeful we will see more and more of the latter, designed by people who have no preconception on how it should look like.