The Mobile Banking Conference Summit organized by SourceMedia was held June 10-12 in San Francisco. Loyalty Truth was fortunate to have two representatives covering the show, and they submitted this report.
The recent Mobile Banking Conference Summit in San Francisco was well attended by bank executives, mobile providers, and a wide variety of vendors hoping to make good on the well documented potential for the space.
One would expect that a group of this composition would be predicting that “by 3pm tomorrow you will be able to buy lunch with your phone and have it delivered to your desk”. While there were plenty of predictions made for the future of mobile payment during the event, many of the speakers were “realistically aggressive” (if there is such a thing) as they evaluated a range of outcomes over a 5-7 year horizon before Mobile Payments becomes ubiquitous.
The diverse set of speakers representing telecom (ISIS), banks (Capital One and BBVA/Compass, among others) and other interested parties (Living Social, LevelUp, Visa, MasterCard, American Express) told the crowd about how their organizations were utilizing mobile commerce, and some interesting themes rose to the top of discussions:
- Clearly there is an explosion of devices taking place. Several speakers shared there are more mobile phones in the United States than toothbrushes. The illustration might give pause to germophobes everywhere, but serves to illustrate there are expected to be 15 billion worldwide in the next few years as the market continues to grow.
- It is important to get in the game now. Most speakers shared the opinion that the blend of Mobile Payments plus Daily Deals plus eCommerce is upon us and will continue to grow exponentially. Sitting on the sidelines might equate to missing out.
- The competitors for leadership in mobile payments will continue to grow and the landscape will become more confusing before the future is finally mapped out. Start-up companies like Level Up, older established companies like Verifone, payments companies like Visa/MC/AmEx, as well as all the banks and retailers are looking for answers to many yet-to-be-determined questions. This invites many perspectives as well as prospective solutions.
- Consumer deals will be the KEY to enabling mobile wallets. Consumers are not likely to adopt wallets just for “convenience”, and will need a stronger hook for adoption. Merchant deals will provide that incentive.
Overall, abundant optimism and opportunity for multiple parties were sketched out at the conference, a welcome change from the more depressing affairs in 2009-2011, where the conversation was about charge-offs, Durbin, and the weak economy. We have, however, seen this “optimism” before and prudently ask the question, “are mobile payments a set of solutions seeking a problem to solve?”
The potential benefits of mobile payment range from “easily understood” which bring convenience to our lives (e.g. using mobile phones to get cash out of an ATM without use of a card) but also stretches the imagination to “cool” ideas that have questionable utility (e.g. remote ordering and payment solutions that allow customers to order and pay before arrival at a store location).
While we don’t believe that anyone has found the right answer yet, “it” was probably floating somewhere in the room at the conference. Let’s hope it appears to the rest of us before 2020!
Editor’s note: Many thanks to Charles Rosenblatt, CEO Payment & Loyalty Solutions and Rami El-Zeini, Aimia for their collaboration in assembling this conference report.