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Jonathan Camhi
Jonathan Camhi
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Digital Wallets Turn A Corner

The beginning of the holiday season has brought some positive tidings for the growth of mobile wallets. Bank Systems & Technology looks at the road - and challenges - ahead.

Just a couple of months ago digital wallets seemed to have a hit a snag on the road to adoption. Apple chose not to feature NFC in the iPhone 5 the same week that Isis announced another delay in its release.

But a lot has changed since then. Isis is here (at least in Austin and Salt Lake City). Visa's digital wallet has signed up more than 50 new partner financial institutions, including Bank of America earlier this week. And the the number of mobile holiday purchases this past week indicates that customers are giving a thumbs up to using their smartphones instead of their physical wallets. PayPal reported a steep rise of 196 percent in Cyber Monday purchases made with mobile devices this week over last year. On Zero Hedge blog" target="_blank">Black Friday mobile devices accounted for 16 percent of online purchases, up from 10 percent last year, acceding to International Business Machines, a group that analyzes online traffic to major retailers.

Digital wallets and mobile payments are becoming more and more of a reality. The growth of the digital wallet seems to have gained some momentum. Even Apple is inching closer to turning Passbook into something resembling a true mobile wallet.

Customers seem increasingly interested in using their mobile devices to make purchases. And that means that this momentum is likely to continue. There will certainly be more potholes along the road to widespread adoption. As Bank Systems & Technology wrote before the Thanksgiving holiday, there are still major questions regarding security and regulation in using mobile devices for financial transactions that could impede customers' embrace of the digital wallet. It is unclear when and how fraudsters will start making their way into the mobile space; and what role regulators will play in policing digital wallets is just as unclear. Those concerns are reflected in our predictions this week from industry experts on where the digital wallet market is going.

But as we noted in our pre-turkey-and-stuffing article, those concerns are beginning to be addressed. Regulators are starting to examine how they should approach mobile payments and wallets, and many third-party wallet and payments providers are beginning to devise their own unique security methods for warding off fraud when it does come knocking. The big questions that still remain for financial institutions are when the digital wallet will reach wide adoption rates, how it will get there and how banks should respond. Our "5 Predictions About the Future of Digital Wallets" provides some insights to help answer those lingering questions.

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Apprentice
12/6/2012 | 7:54:17 AM
re: Digital Wallets Turn A Corner
Why do digital wallet needs to have banks as partners?- I thought all digital wallet- needs is my credit card info and they will store this and pass it payment gateway securely when I make a payment.. thus my question on why bank partnership is needed to have digital wallet viable..I must be missing something fundamental

Greg MacSweeney
Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
12/5/2012 | 11:50:23 AM
re: Digital Wallets Turn A Corner
I wonder is Apple misread the market for mobile payments. By not
including NFC in the iPhone 5, Apple took a pass on becoming the major
payments player. Or is Apple waiting until the timing is right (when
more people want to use their phone to pay?).

When Apple finally does jump into the crowded payments pool, it will
make major waves and will likely become the major payments player almost
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