Wallets in the cloud

Matt Barr, head of market development, Australasia for MasterCard Worldwide

digital payment

As electronic payment platforms continue to develop, the cloud offers a paradigm shift in how businesses and consumers interact and pay for goods and services.

It is acknowledged by many that traditional plastic payment cards are a poor form factor to enable streamlined digital experiences, so having somewhere to store payment details and other information value added services such as loyalty cards over time will eliminate these repetitive steps.

A cloud wallet is a digital wallet that can be accessed and used through a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. The idea is that users register for the service, and then use it as a one-click check-out experience for e-commerce transactions.

For many years now consumers — with smartphone in-hand — have been demanding better shopping experiences. To date, however, the main problem with m-commerce experiences has been that consumers have to set up a profile, enter their 16-digit card number, their billing and delivery addresses, and any other membership or loyalty details with every retailer they buy from. This is often done onto a small screen, which can be a frustrating experience for the shopper.

In response to this, retailers have been building their own bespoke services to house customer information, including payments details, in order to streamline their customers' experience. The growing problem is that consumers are storing their information across the Internet with multiple retailers and in multiple locations, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor where information is being held and if it's up to date. This is frustrating for both consumers and retailers.

This is where the power and convenience of digital wallets really shine. Purchasing online goods and services with cloud wallets makes life just that little bit simpler. Using their digital wallet, consumers only have to head to the checkout, log-in with a simple email and password, and all their details are quickly and securely shared with the retailer to complete the transaction.

There are four basic characteristics of digital wallets that should really be seen as table stakes.

These include:

1. Providing a safe and trusted service to merchants and consumers

2. Offering mainstream acceptance across New Zealand businesses

3. The ability to deliver the best customer experience

4. Accepting all of the major global payment card brands.

However, a successful digital wallet must offer more than this, if the provider truly wants to offer peace of mind to merchants and consumers — as well as value.

A digital wallet should offer cross-border capability so that it can be used around the world, providing a universal solution that turns a smartphone or tablet into a mobile payment device. It means that no matter where the customer is based, they'll be able to shop safely and conveniently.

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