Over three years ago the Google Wallet was introduced as a mobile app which lets consumers transfer money, pay for their purchase and redeem valuable coupons all with only a tap on their phone. The app also allows users to store all their credit and debit information. Riding along on this concept is Apple as well as startups like LevelUp and Loop. Even Amazon is in testing stages of Amazon Wallet now. But herein lies the problem…consumers are not interested. The promise of convenience has lead only 16 percent of consumers to use their phones to make in-store purchases. In 2011, Square Wallet, a mobile app which does the same thing as Google Wallet came out and now has been killed off due to lack of interest.
The only answer to the reluctance must be around security and privacy. It is easy to store a coupon or a loyalty card to a phone, but to demand a consumer to trust a rather unpredictable system with their personal financial information is asking too much. Phones can be stolen. In fact, the small little device is a prime target for theft, especially when the phone carries a substantial value on a resale. Loss of access is another big hesitation. Lose your battery power or carrier in that precious minute of a sales transaction, and it becomes kind of like kin to public speaking embarrassment. To top all those fears off, nobody wants their cell phone carriers to have access to their financial information or to know what they are doing with their money. All of these scenarios automatically give one the shivers.
Let’s say you are one of those progressive consumers who dive right into the new Google Wallet, the fastest way to jump out is to find out only some merchants take the technology and others are yet to accept it for point-of-sale transactions (back to the public speaking embarrassment feeling). Most people will be able to fend off the rejection with a physical wallet, but then what is the whole point of even having a Google Wallet? A PwC survey discovered people might use the virtual wallet if at least 75 percent of retailers accepted them.
In defense of the Google Wallet concept, consumers had the same paranoia when credit cards first appeared. Older generations stuck to a cash or check policy, shucking the credit card marketing. Perhaps the idea of not paying cash and grabbing credit was too proud of notion for some. Then debit cards gradually creeped in and nobody noticed. Privacy hysteria was created when hackers and criminals proved the ability to steal anyone’s financial information. So how is storing all this on a Google Wallet going to be any safer, lest it be worse? Technology is pushing hard at consumers to rodeo up on every new concept presented. The problem is, not every idea is a good one. There is an old saying which goes “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”