Why Haven't Digital Wallets Caught On In The US?
Despite the growing number of mobile payment technologies available, and the uptick in users in both Europe and Japan, many Americans are either unaware of them or concerned about their security.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
A recent survey of smartphone users revealed that despite a growing number of mobile payment technologies available, half of the respondents had no idea they even existed. However, the Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group believes that within the next five years, half of all smartphone owners will be paying for common items, including food and gas, with digital wallets. They are already growing in popularity overseas; Ray Ledford frequently travels between the US and his home base in Japan and says that it's not uncommon to see Japanese paying with their phones. Another user, Mark Logan, says that if it could store his driver's license and other items, he'd give up his physical billfold entirely.
What's the Big Idea?
Several major hurdles will need to be cleared before digital wallets gain a real foothold in the US market. Currently there are many different ways to pay with a mobile device, some of which require hardware that isn't commonly found in American phones. Then there's the matter of security, which survey respondents consistently put at the top of their issues list. However, unlike physical wallets, phones can be locked or shut down, as Google Wallet user Jared Jennings points out: "I trust my phone more than my pocket, anytime."
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