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50 Percent of Consumers Don’t Understand the Mobile Wallet Concept But Want One Anyway

What’s your definition of a mobile wallet? I’d say that it was a digital way of paying for non-digital goods.

(Insert harsh beep)

And I would be wrong. According to the new Mobile Wallet Consumer Report from Vibes, a mobile wallet is much more. Like a real wallet, a mobile wallet is designed to hold and organize more than just money. It also contains non-payment related information such as loyalty card numbers, coupons and maybe even photos of your kids.

Vibes asked 1,000 smartphone owners to define “mobile wallet” and here’s what they got.

mobile wallet definition

Even though only 27% of people understood the full concept of a mobile wallet, and 19% had no idea what they were talking about, the majority (59%) said they’d have a more positive view of a retailer if they offered one . . . ?

They even went so far as to list off the benefits they’d enjoy:

vibes mobile benefits

Yes, these are all great goals. But I have a problem. I use several retail branded apps to do these very things. The ones I use the most are grocery store apps that track my points and allow me to use digital coupons. I have two of those. I also have an app for coupons from Michael’s Arts and Crafts, a check-in app for Super Cuts, a Lowe’s app that remembers which light-bulbs I buy and a Staples app that tracks my ink purchases and rewards checks.

My iPhone is starting to look like the inside of my wallet – a massive collection of informational bits, most of which I don’t need or rarely use.

For this concept to succeed, we need an app that does the work of all these apps. Is that likely to happen? Apple’s Passbook is an attempt at this but is it working? USAToday says the app is beginning to catch on. I forgot I had Passbook, so I just stopped to reacquaint myself. My opening screen is a Michael’s coupon that expired in 2012. Hmm…..so much for organization.

Here are a few more facts from the study:

  • For non-users, the top reasons to try a (non-payment) mobile wallet tool are better promotions/offers (50 percent,) followed by organizing content such as coupons and loyalty cards (43 percent)
  • 44 percent of non-users claim a (non-payment) mobile wallet tool would enhance their shopping experience
  • You don’t need an app to deliver mobile wallet content: Apps actually come in third as the channel consumers prefer to receive mobile wallet content (19 percent) behind text message (20 percent) and email (46 percent)

That last one makes me skip a beat. Wait? Text message coupons and emails count as part of the mobile wallet experience? I’m not sure who’s more confused, the people who wrote this survey, took this survey, or me.

I’m a fan of digital payments, coupons and deals but as a person who seeks these things out on a regular basis, I’m here to tell you that we still have a long way to go.

What are your thoughts on the concept of the mobile wallet?