Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday Catch-Up with our man from McVay Media

Now Connected: Your Wallet

Google, Mastercard, and Citigroup have come together to make your leather wallet look like an uncool antique this week with their announcement of a Wireless Payment System called Google Wallet.

It’s a mobile app that consumers can wave in front of a retailer’s electronic terminal to make a payment. Using technology known as near-field communications (NFC), which is incorporated into a chip in mobile phones, mobile wallets can be used to make payments at nearly 125,000 PayPass terminals. Those are terminals that take contactless payments.

Google’s hope is that it will replace credit cards—and even better, replace the wallet altogether. At a news conference last week, Google’s VP/Commerce Stephanie Tilenius said, “Eventually, you will be able to put everything in your wallet.”

It’s not just a dream of Google though. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have also come together to offer a service called Isis. Their website says that “the Isis mobile wallet will eliminate the need to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets, and transit passes, fundamentally changing how you shop, pay, and save. All with your phone.”

Companies like Square and Paypal have also made advances towards accepting mobile payments, and they will likely accelerate now after Google’s announcement. This month, a startup called Tabbedout also raised $4 million to create a mobile payment app specifically for restaurant-goers to use on their dining bills.

Will consumers actually care about mobile payments? Time will tell, but my bet would be that the convenience will be appreciated by young mobile consumers.

Three Takeaways for Local Media Companies:

1. With services like Square (see it at, your local sales reps could accept payments right on the spot from local buyers. Square makes it possible for you to take credit card payments from your iPad, iPhone, or Android anywhere. This could be helpful for medium or small market clubs, bars, or local retail outlets that prefer to pay with a credit card.

2. Are you sharing the mobile payment trend with your local clients? This will certainly become a hot topic in the second half of this year among local retailers and restaurants who are interested in creating low-friction simple ways for consumers to pay. This could be especially helpful for businesses that deliver food or other goods and services where a “mobile cash register” could come in handy. This could also be helpful to a non-profit which is accepting donations at events or running an auction where they’d like to provide payment on-site.

3. Very few local media outlets offer carry-around loyalty cards anymore. However, could mobile wallets create a new opportunity for TV and radio station loyalty programs and points programs? Now the technology exists for stations to incentivize people with their app to shop at a local business and checkout using their coupon or loyalty code. We will most assuredly see more developments in this space over the next 12-18 months.

Most importantly, this is another significant push toward integration of mobile devices in our daily lives. It’s one more way that consumers will use their phones, and it’s one more invitation for competitive local media outlets to design a mobile strategy for building audience and revenue. 

No comments:

Post a Comment