People will soon be throwing away their wallets – is your business prepared?

Even back in 2007, research indicated that people were more likely to leave home without their wallet than their mobile phone (Sunday Times article 29/4/07) and credit card companies and mobile phone manufacturers alike are now cashing in on this!

At the checkout, the question will soon become “how would you like to pay for that… cash, card … or phone?” With the swipe of your smartphone across a reader at the checkout, your purchases will automatically be charged to your credit card; you will also be able to check your balance, receive coupons and rewards points – all at the point of sale.

2011 is tipped to be the year of the “mobile wallet’ as smartphones are given the capabilities to replace cash or plastic. Only last week Starbucks announced the launch of its mobile payment programme nationwide in the US, which enables people to use the Starbucks Mobile Pay App on their Blackberries or iPhones to buy their morning latte.

Exciting future developments should allow smartphone users to hook up a credit card scanner to a phone in order to process payments at any time and anywhere, and also enable users to be able to load funds onto their phone, and then have merchants scan this to make a purchase. A “pay-by-mobile” system already operates in Japan where people can go out to eat, watch a movie and catch the train home – with no wallet required!

In a recent article in Business Review Europe it was reported that, although it may be some time before you can buy your weekly shopping using your phone, a new system using barcodes sent by text message, called Shop Smart Save, will be launched this July in the UK; it offers shoppers money off at the tills and paves the way for a full pay-by-mobile system.

While the convenience of being able to buy goods and transferring money via mobile phones is exciting for some, the obvious security issues are a concern for others. Smartphone manufacturers and financial institutions are addressing these concerns, and are confident that security can be handled as it is with credit cards, using additional technologies such as fingerprint identification.

Is your business prepared for the fact that the days of cash and credit card payments are limited? With increasing usage of the “mobile wallet”, consumer purchasing activity will undoubtedly be changing in the next few years, and companies would be wise to start considering the implications of this now. If you need assistance understanding the implications and defining what strategies and systems your business needs to implement to address this new mobile technology, our specialist consultants at MA Consulting International would be happy to help. Call +441656 766363 or visit our website http://www.maconsultinginternational.com/

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