Last year, there was tremendous speculation that mobile wallets could serve as a serious threat to point-of-sale systems. When mobile wallets were first introduced, the innovation behind such a new concept certainly seemed as if it could dispel point-of-sale systems. As a result, many retailers began to wonder what the future would hold for them in terms of their point-of-sale systems. Would they eventually need to accept mobile wallets? Would POS systems even still be around in a few years if consumers all made the switch to mobile wallets?
While the concept of a mobile wallet may have sounded good on the surface and many tech fans have been quick to jump on board, consumers have yet to adopt mobile wallets on a mainstream basis.
Tech Companies Take a Step Back from Mobile Wallets
Furthermore, tech companies that were quick to roll out mobile wallets have since taken a step back in light of a lukewarm reception. Recently, Amazon announced that it would be shutting down its mobile wallet beta. The mobile wallet made it possible for Fire and Android phone users to store gift and loyalty cards digitally. While Amazon has said that it learned a lot during the six-month trial for its mobile wallet, the online giant has yet to reveal whether it has any plans for bringing back the wallet in another form.
The Introduction of Mobile Wallets
First hitting the scene in 2011, mobile wallets were popularized by Square. Before long, Google introduced its own Google Wallet. Many entrepreneurs were quick to latch onto the concept of a mobile wallet because it certainly seemed logical. With so many consumers now adopting smartphones, the next logical step seemed to be to allow consumers to use that device as an alternative to actual credit cards or cash.
The only problem is that while the idea may have seemed logical on the surface, that did not prove to be true in reality. Despite the ability to simply whip out their phones to make payments, most consumers still opt to carry around their physical wallets. In practice, pulling out a smartphone to make a payment does not save any more time than bringing out a credit or debit card or even cash. Furthermore, not all consumers are completely enamored with the tech behind the mobile wallet concept. This can be particularly true among older consumers, who are often slow to adopt new technology.
As a result, mobile wallets have not gained nearly as much popularity among the public as first speculated. Although some individuals may choose to use a mobile wallet at local shops, it's a rare occurrence when someone actually uses a mobile wallet to pay for every purchase he or she makes. Consequently, it seems that mobile wallets still do not pose a threat to point-of-sale systems. Whether this will change in the future may depend upon whether an easy-to-use, legitimate, and cost-effective solution is introduced at some point in the future.