This will be the year mobile wallets get traction, and this is positive for consumers. A couple of the bigger mobile wallets are already starting to make a splash (e.g., Google Wallet, Isis) While there have been technical and industry-specific obstacles to adoption over the past few years, most of those barriers are being mitigated. As a result, consumers should see mobile wallets take off in 2014. Mobile wallet users can expect to save money and earn more rewards, not to mention the convenience of paying with your phone.
What Mobile Wallets Mean to You
Anyone who uses credit or debit cards has something to gain from mobile wallets. First, it means you can make purchases with your phone, even if you don’t have a wallet with you. And you will be able to make those purchases more often – many stores already accept mobile payments, and many more will be getting this capability this year. Second, you can conveniently carry all your payment cards with no fear of looking like George Castanza. Your smartphone is the same size whether you have no payment cards on the phone or ten. Third, the mobile wallet will make it easier to receive discounts from merchants and other offers / features without clipping / saving a bunch of coupons.
These benefits are particularly important for Reward Summit users. You are already actively working to maximize your rewards. But, if you’re like most people, carrying all those payment cards around can be a hassle. With mobile wallets all those cards can live conveniently in your smartphone without taking up extra space in your wallet or purse. And, if you’ve been reluctant to add cards to your reward optimization repertoire, you may have missed out on some earnings potential. Mobile wallets make this much easier!
What We Recommend for Reward Summit Users
Here are 4 things you can do right now to optimize the 2014 mobile wallet trend:
1. Pay attention. When you are out shopping, see which stores already accept mobile payments. Often times you’ll see a logo for Google Wallet, MasterCard PayPass, or and Isis logo on the point-of-sale terminal where you normally swipe your credit card.
2. Check out the available mobile wallets. If you have an Android phone with NFC (like the Nexus 5, the Moto X, or the Samsung Galaxy S3 or S4), you have a wide range of options, including Goggle Wallet and potentially Isis. You can check out the Isis wallet or Google Wallet apps from the Google Play Store and try out paying by tapping on your phone.
If you have an Android phone without NFC, don’t despair. The Google Wallet application is still worth checking out because you can get money-saving offers in the app. If you have an iPhone, you can check out the Square Wallet which is very nice if you shop at merchants who use Square or HighRiskCharge for their credit card processing. More wallets may be on the way for iPhone.
3. Consider adjusting your credit card strategy. Would you add existing cards to your mobile wallet that you don’t normally carry with you? Should you consider applying for additional cards now that you wouldn’t have before because you were out of space in your purse or wallet? (If you haven’t looked recently, Reward Summit has recently reviewed several great new cards like the US Bank Cash+ Visa.)
4. Think about your next phone purchase. Right now Android is the clear winner in having the widest array of options and most new Android phones coming on the market in the United States now support NFC. Technology changes quickly, so do a little research before signing another two-year agreement for your next phone. If you love your iPhone, keep alert to apps that provide mobile wallet capabilities.