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Financial Institutions Should Prepare for Crowded and Fragmented Mobile Wallets

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Banks and financial institutions launching mobile wallets in the immediate future should expect to enter a hotly contested market, crowded with own brand solutions that are limited to the delivery of proprietary services only, according to Mobey Forum's Business Workgroup.

Their latest white paper contends that the majority of financial institutions will, in the short term, attempt to develop their own proprietary wallets in a partner-independent manner. Only when a secure element (SE) is required, or when core functionalities become too difficult for financial institutions to achieve alone, are they likely to open their solutions and seek to cooperate with other stakeholders.

"The number, breadth and variation of mobile wallet solutions set to come to market is going to make getting to grips with the technology a challenge for the end-user," comments Jordi Guaus, Chair of the Business Workgroup, Mobey Forum. "This means that banks and financial institutions should think very carefully about their chosen structure and approach to market. Decisions taken now will have a significant bearing on the value they are able to deliver to customers and, in a crowded market, value will be the key to earning the loyalty of end-users."

The paper offers a generic description of a mobile wallet structure based on the premise that the wallet is a container, which houses 'services' (most commonly individual mobile apps). The paper then defines two broad mobile wallet structures that support this model: a 'horizontal wallet' (an open wallet capable of supporting services from multiple providers) and a 'vertical wallet' (a closed wallet housing services from a single provider).

The paper also highlights some of the restrictions that a financial institution could face in implementing a mobile wallet solution. These restrictions largely depend on each service's requirement to store credentials data in the SE.

Mobey Forum, the global bank driven industry association, maintains that these concepts, together with the options to cooperate with third party service providers, should underpin a financial institution's mobile wallet go-to-market strategy and help financial institutions to develop effective and commercially viable mobile wallet solutions.

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Tags: mobile banking