Mindshare: The Coming Growth of Mobile Wallets

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This week, on Mindshare’s Culture Vulture Live, Amanda Hechinger explores mobile wallets and payment apps. Watch the video above.

Google is currently piloting a new mobile payments app called Hands Free. Here’s how it works: After downloading the app, use it to upload both your credit card info and a picture of yourself. The app then uses Bluetooth, WiFi and other location services on your phone to detect whether or not you’re near a participating store. If you’re in a store that uses Hands Free, then instead of taking out your wallet or your phone, you say, “I’ll pay with Google.” The cashier will ask for your initials and confirm your identity based on the photo you’d uploaded.

Whether or not this app specifically takes off remains to be seen. But it follows the larger trends that Mindshare is seeing around the changing world of commerce. More and more consumers are getting comfortable using their phones to pay or shop. And they want quick, easy ways to do it. For example, users of the mobile messaging app WeChat have been sending each other money through the app. There were billions of dollars in transactions sent during the month of January alone.

In fact, we’re predicting a big increase in the adoption of mobile wallets overall -- especially because merchants are now required to use the chip system, where consumers dip their credit cards and wait. With convenience and speed being top priorities for consumers, it seems like people will be more open to faster mobile methods instead.

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