Friday, 27 April 2012

O2 becomes latest company to launch a digital wallet

Hot on the heels of Barclay’s Pingit and Barclaycard’s Paytag, O2 has become the latest company in the UK to offer a digital wallet.

The product allows a number of functions, including:

·         Money Message – enabling  daily transfers of between £1 and £500 to any UK mobile phone number

·         Shopping via your mobile – A  barcode and search engine function compares the prices of millions of branded goods from more than 100 online retailers

·         Your phone as your wallet – O2 Wallet enables consumers to digitise their existing debit and credit cards making paying for goods or services via their mobile a reality. Customers can load money into their O2 Wallet account via one of their debit cards, by receiving a Money Message or with cash at more than 30,000 locations including O2 stores, PayPoint and epay retail outlets. O2 Wallet’s ‘transaction history’ will allow consumers to keep on top of their expenditure with text alerts when the account balance changes; a 30-day payment history on the app; and a 12-month history online

·         O2 Money Account Card – O2 Wallet offers both a physical and a virtual O2 Money Account Card. Both are based on a Visa prepaid account. Consumers can also apply for the physical O2 Money Visa Account Card, a contactless card  to pay for things on the high street or withdraw cash from ATMs available for use at more than 100,000 contactless payment points across the UK

James Le Brocq, Managing Director at O2 Money, said O2 believes that the new product “will transform the way people manage their finances and spend money.”

But in reality, how long will this “transformation” take ? And who is the demographic it will appeal to the most? How long before it trickles down to the late adopters?   

Additional functionality will soon enable consumers to use O2 Wallet to top-up mobile airtime, and buy train tickets.

O2 Wallet is compatible with the majority of smartphones as well as iPads. Even those without a smartphone can use various features of O2 Wallet – for example Money Messages – providing they have web browsing capability on their handsets.

It will be interesting to see the take up of the O2 Wallet. The proportion of people using mobile banking increased from 9.7% in 2010 to 20.4% in 2011. It is predicted that shopping on mobile devices is set to increase by 53% in the next 12 months hitting £4.5bn and making Brits the biggest mobile shoppers in Europe.

How long before digital wallets and mobile payments trickle down to the late adopters ?

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