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Mobile Wallets: Convenient, but Worth the Risk?

Mobile Wallets

A few days ago, I was speaking with a friend about how I misplaced my ID. While we were talking about my forgetfulness, a commercial came on that caught our attention. The commercial was advertising a mobile wallet (also called an e-wallet or a digital wallet), but I won’t specify which one. My friend commented that she wasn’t interested in using a mobile wallet and didn’t want her wallet to be connected to her unsecured phone.

My immediate reaction was: What do you mean you won’t ever use a mobile wallet? This could be the future of payment processing! At least see what the product has to offer before you jump to conclusions. Then I stopped and thought that I might be a little biased because I work in retail technology, but nonetheless, I wanted to understand her aversion to mobile wallets. She mentioned that she didn’t like the idea of having her sensitive information, such as her credit and debit card numbers, in an app, stored in her cellphone. She said that there is too much room for error, in that the phone might die, get lost, or be stolen.

Just imagine that you are traveling to a client site and had only your cellphone and mobile wallet, which has your accounts preloaded into the app. Sitting in the back of the cab, you search for your phone. You are feeling around in your pockets, searching the bottom of your brief case, and suddenly you realize that you left it in the seat pocket on the airplane. Oh no!

If you would have been using a traditional wallet, you would have had a credit and/or debit card to buy a temporary phone, or at least access a phone until you could replace the old one. This was the exact fear that my friend had mentioned to me when discussing mobile wallets. Her point was that, in the event that you lose your wallet or your phone, one will help you replace the other—meaning that with a phone you can call the bank and get a temporary ATM card, and with a wallet, you can purchase a new phone.

In conclusion, it is nice to have the option to use a mobile wallet, but I do not want to give up the security of having physical cards. To me by combining my cellphone and wallet, I am putting all my eggs in one basket, which isn’t always a good idea for someone as forgetful as me. If you do decide to use a mobile wallet, however, make sure your cellphone is ALWAYS password or passcode protected.

I am interested in hearing what you think about mobile wallets. To join the discussion, leave a comment or take our quick, one question survey:

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I will continue to discuss mobile wallets in my next two blogs, so stay tuned.

Check out my recent blog on retail technology trends and see what’s new in retail!