In these days of post-recession malaise, there are two things at the center of every consumer’s life: Money and cell phones. It’s only a matter of time before these two merge, and we’ll all be paying for our groceries with a wave of our cell phone.
Or will we? We know that consumers are eager to have some way to make person-to-person payments that doesn’t involve paper checks (still the single largest form of non-cash P2P payment), but the banking industry in its collective foot-dragging hasn’t yet built a global standard for mobile payments — though there are plenty of PayPal wannabes trying to get a piece of the mobile action.
Now it looks as if the financial services industry is finally coming on board with technological innovations like mobile banking and payments that promise to take consumers’ love affair with the mobile phone — especially smart phones like the iPhone and Droid — to new heights.
Marketers need to understand that consumer rage toward “too big to fail” banks and Wall Street may make them skeptical to marketing messages, but in no way mitigates consumer interest in technology that makes spending, saving, investing, and budgeting safer and more convenient than cash or plastic.
- Transitional technologies are already here. Some banks and credit unions are already accepting virtual deposits of paper checks — allowing customers with a cell phone camera to photograph a check and email it for deposit.
- It’s an app, app world where anyone with a smartphone can open up a bar tab, order refills, and pay off the bill with a few taps of the virtual keyboard in their palm.
- Remember the dudes who started Facebook? One of them has now created FaceCash, a mobile app that produces an onscreen barcode that anyone can scan to make an electronic transfer of funds — complete with your own face where Ben Franklin’s normally is.
- Another possible solution just waiting for more consumer love: Text-messaging money, via POPmoney.