“What’s In Your Virtual Wallet?” – The Future of Mobile Commerce

SXSW 2011 hosted a phenomenal conference this year with interactive, film and music media seminars. As part of the interactive section there were a handful of financal seminars about the future of shopping, lending and banking.

One particular session that caught my interest was one entitled “What’s In Your Virtual Wallet?” featuring representatives from PayPal and eBay/RedLaser.

This session focused on the fact that people are shopping in a completely different way nowadays and confirmed the idea that mobile commerce is here and evolving quickly!

The panelists involved touched on a lot of key issues during this session however I found the idea of imagining your phone as your wallet a particularly interesting topic. With the progression of the online and mobile culture it’s no surprise that you will one day be able to use your smartphone as your wallet. After all, there’s an app for that.

The panelists discussed the possibility if shopping went completely mobile. Imagine your phone as you wallet, all of your data – credit cards, bank cards, etc – kept in the cloud and with you wherever you went without the need to cary a wallet.

Many concerns were raised about security risks and possible fraud however the panelists reassured attendees that if your wallet was on your phone things would be more secure since you’d need to have a secret password to access the accounts. They also expressed the importance to always keep a password lock on your phone.

The plus side of a mobile wallet is if your phone was stolen or lost you would not have to cancel any cards and wait for replacements, you could simply change your passwords to your cards online.

While a good idea in theory I still think it has a long way to go before consumers and retailers jump fully onboard with this mobile wallet notion.

Although, there was one new app demonstrated by Laura Chambers, Director of Mobile, from PayPal that was revolutionary. In this app you can scan the barcode of an item (with the integration of RedLaser) and see which online AND local stores have the item in stock and their prices (with the integration of Milo). You can then select the best price or location you so chose and check out with PayPal right on your phone. Then when convenient you can visit the store, show them your receipt on your phone and pick up your item.

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This appeals to me especially since I am an avid frugal shopper always looking for the best deal. One of my main concerns with a good deal is that it will be all snatched up by the time I arrive in store to pick it up. With this new app there’s a piece of mind that you’ve bought and reserved your piece of merchandise before making the trek out to the store.

Below I’ve included a video of the testing of this app from the SXSW panel.

What are your thoughts, comments or concerns on the evolution of mobile commerce? Post a comment below!

2 thoughts on ““What’s In Your Virtual Wallet?” – The Future of Mobile Commerce”

  1. Pretty cool new features with the PayPal app. How great would it to be able to not only find the cheapest local price but buy it right there on your phone?


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