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Single-Merchant Wallets: Mobile Payments for the Immediate Future

Abstract

New research from Mercator Advisory Service profiles multiple solutions and forecasts growth for single-merchant wallets

Boston, MA - December 19, 2012 Every day, more is being said about the potential value in mobile payments. Yet the struggles facing major mobile payment solution providers such as Google and Isis are well documented. How can a product with so much potential be so difficult to launch?

These major solution providers are attempting to develop a mobile payment system that can theoretically be available to all consumers, accepted by all merchants, and utilize all major payment networks -an undertaking that will take years to accomplish. Meanwhile, a number of more focused solutions are poised to take advantage of the value of mobile payments today. Rather than aim for universal acceptance, these solutions focus on being accepted by only a single merchant, drastically simplifying the process of implementation.

Mercator Advisory Group's new report, Single-Merchant Wallets: Mobile Payments for the Immediate Future, compares single-merchant wallets with universal ones, classifies the two major types of single-merchant mobile wallets, and describes which merchants are in the best position to implement the two types. The report also profiles multiple solutions currently available for consumers and forecasts the growth pattern for single-merchant wallets, with a particular focus on the effect of universal mobile wallet proliferation.

"Although universal mobile wallets are expected to become far more common eventually, the current opportunities for mobile payments lie almost entirely with single-merchant wallets," says Dave Kaminsky, analyst in Mercator Advisory Group's Emerging Technologies Service and author of the report. "For a number of reasons, universal mobile wallets will not be practical for the next five or six years. This window leaves plenty of time for SMW providers to demonstrate the value of their products to both merchants and consumers. If they can develop enough loyalty in those groups, it is feasible that they will survive the impact of the bigger wallets and become a factor in mobile payments for the long term."

Highlights of the report include:

  • Explanation of why universal mobile wallets take far longer to gain traction than single-merchant mobile wallets, and how single-merchant wallets can benefit merchants both before and after universal wallets become mainstream
  • Classification of the two types of single-merchant mobile wallets and comparison of the merchants best suited to implement each type
  • Profiles of five single-merchant mobile wallet solutions on the market, including historical details, usage statistics, and information on design and infrastructure
  • Five-year forecast of total annual transaction volume for single-merchant mobile wallets employed by U.S. merchants

One of the five exhibits in this report:

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This report is 21 pages long with five exhibits.

Companies mentioned in the report include: Bank of America, Citi, CorFire, Dinerware, Dunkin Donuts, Facebook, Firethorn Mobile, First Data, Google, Isis, LevelUp, mFoundry, MICROS, PNC, POSitouch, Qualcomm, Revel Systems, SK C&C, Sprint, Square, Starbucks, Virgin Mobile.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Mobile Payments in the US

The Single-Merchant Wallet

Single-Merchant Wallets vs Universal Wallets

  • Advantages of Universal Wallets
  • Advantages of SMWs

Ideal Businesses for SMWs

Single-Merchant Wallets Currently on the Market

  • Single-Retailer Wallets
  • Merchant-Aggregator Wallets

Can They Last?

Conclusion

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Figures

  • Figure 1: Comparative Advantages of Single-Merchant Wallets and Universal Wallets
  • Figure 2: Characteristics of Ideal Merchant Types for Single-Retailer and Merchant-Aggregator SMWs
  • Figure 3: Total Estimated US Volume of NFC-Based Transactions
  • Figure 4: Estimated US Volume of Single-Merchant Wallet Transactions
  • Figure 5: Estimated US Volume of Mobile Wallet Transactions
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