It is interesting that the article, 'Payment Trade Association Forms Mobile Payment Committee,' and similar articles were published the same time as this Mobile Wallet blog. Technology fragmentation is among the key reasons Mobile Wallet is not gaining momentum in the US. It's as if the entire industry visited CapTech Blogs last week and decided it was time to take action.
The creation of the Mobile Payments Committee by the Electronic Transaction Association is an encouraging development. If this group works collaboratively and addresses the needs of consumers and merchants while navigating regulatory challenges, Mobile Wallet could become a greater reality in the US in the next few years.
There are four large groups of powerful stakeholders and the dynamics among these groups will determine the pace of Mobile Wallet adoption in this country. Two of the groups, the Mobile Payments Committee and the somewhat secret consortium, which includes Wal-Mart, Target, and 20+ other retailers, are well-organized. While both have similar objectives, they hold diametrically opposing viewpoints regarding fees, data ownership, and customer relationships.
The third group is the federal government. Congress may or may not decide to define the rules of the game as it plays out. My expectation is that Congress will remain quiet until it is too late to have significant influence. The concerned regulatory agencies will play some role but will not change the rules as long as there are no major data breaches or fraud losses associated with Mobile Wallet.
The fourth group, American consumers, will determine the outcome. The apparently increasing cooperation between financial institutions, mobile carriers, credit card associations, and solution providers gives hope that Mobile Wallet may soon be a viable option in the near future.