Digital wallet apps slowly catching on in America
By McClatchy Newspapers
Published: Saturday, July 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mark Logan ordered lunch at Mildred's Coffeehouse & Bistro in Kansas City's Crossroads Arts District and stepped to the register to pay.
No cash, check or plastic.
Logan paid with his smartphone. He had loaded it with his debit card information, using a mobile application called Square Wallet, and snapped his picture.
To make the payment, Square Wallet sent Logan's picture to the iPad that Mildred's uses for a register. The iPad tied his tab to his photo.
The barista, seeing Logan, tapped his photo from among several customers on the screen and told Logan the payment was going through. A second tap, and technology took care of the rest.
“This is dead easy,” said Logan, whose receipt popped up on his phone.
So why don't more of us pay with our phones?
Mostly, we don't know we can. A recent survey of smartphone users found that half had never heard of the idea of a digital wallet, let alone downloaded and used one.
And few stores or restaurants take them.
All the same, you may use one soon. Money is making a dash from pockets to smartphones, thanks to digital wallets such as Lemon, Isis, LevelUp and others.
The Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group forecasts that within five years, half of smartphone owners will prefer to pay for gas, food, gadgets and other consumer goods with phones and mobile wallets.
That's a big leap, and a lot needs to happen before then.
Several technologies are competing to migrate money to smartphones and they don't mesh. By one count, perhaps 280 digital wallets or more have sprung up or are in development around those various technologies. Some retailers, notably Starbucks, have built apps for mobile payments.
It leaves consumers and retailers guessing which digital wallet the other will use. Unless they match, it will be back to cash, check or plastic.
Consumers in Japan pay with cellphones more than Americans do, said Ray Ledford, an American who lives in Japan: “Anytime you're there, you'll see somebody using it during the day.”
If the digital wallet is really going to catch on here, it has to do more than pay the tab. Advocates say successful digital wallets will need to help consumers save money, become savvier managers of payment choices, earn discounts and coupons and increase their value as customers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Municipal bonds do another about-face
- Achieving proper credit balance
- Regular or Roth? Pick either
- Harsh winter sets back Western Pa. maple harvest
- Real estate goes techno
- Minorities crucial to filling Marcellus shale gas drilling jobs
- Prepaid cards start to elbow aside bank accounts
- JPMorgan whistle-blower gets $64M for mortgage fraud tips
- ‘Boomerang’ buyers get another chance at homeownership
- Diaper makers do due diligence
- Demand grows for digital deal suppliers