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Ahead of Mobey Forum’s next quarterly member meeting in Rotterdam, the organisation’s Executive Director, Maikki Frisk, caught up with Andre Stoorvogel, Director of Product Marketing, Payments, at host member, Rambus, to get his take on the future of digital wallets. 

How are payments changing?

Maikki Frisk
Maikki Frisk

I think we can all agree that convenience is not enough to drive mass adoption of mobile wallets. Many consumers are happy with their contactless cards since they’re quick, convenient and familiar. This is why we’re seeing digital wallet providers like banks and retailers incentivizing users with offers and other value-added services.

Brick and mortar stores are also working hard to be differentiated in the digital world. Central to this effort is the desire to create a rich buying experience for the customer, one where the physical act of paying becomes less visible.

Why should retail banks and merchants care about digital wallets?

Simple: digital wallets can bring a great deal of value to banks and retailers. They generate streams of actionable customer data that can be used to develop new services and tailored deals. By owning the wallet application and infrastructure, banks and merchants can also control security and ensure customer and payment data are protected from fraudsters. Provisioning costs and transaction fees can be reduced by deploying private label digital cards, along with in-app payments so merchants can save money by reducing overall costs including check-outs in their physical stores.

Getting closer to the consumer is also central to banks’ and merchants’ strategies. By tapping into the power of their customers’ smartphones and by using technologies like augmented reality, they can make digital shopping more experiential, increase engagement with customers, boost loyalty and generate more revenue on the back of expanded opportunities to up/cross sell.

What has Rambus done to drive adoption of digital wallets?

In collaboration with a bank customer, we developed our Unified Payment Platform to help banks and retailers quickly bring digital wallets to market. Just another wallet platform, right? Well, what’s interesting is that it’s not just about money. We’ve worked hard develop a seamless UX and to ensure it can bring together various digital “values” from banks and retailers so consumers can seamlessly pay with credit, points, gift cards and coupons in a single transaction. Simpler for merchants, more valuable for consumers.

Functionality like this, in addition to tailored offers and opportunities to skip the queues by using the wallet to pay ‘in-aisle’ will help banks and retailers drive adoption of digital wallets.

How important is cross-industry collaboration to the development of a great digital wallet experience?

Andre Stoorvogel
Andre Stoorvogel

Delivering a standout digital wallet user experience can only be achieved when the experts from each part of the customer’s buying journey pool their knowledge and experience. Merchants ‘get’ shopping. Banks ‘get’ payments and financial services. Vendors ‘get’ the technology. This is why Mobey Forum is such an important association: the digital wallet ecosystem is a busy place, with a wide variety of competing stakeholders engaging in partnerships and coopetition. If the end consumer is to benefit from this hive of activity, cross industry collaboration is vital.  We’re excited to be helping banks and retailers get closer to each other, and to their customers.

What is Rambus’ future vision for the buying experience?

We’re on the road to making the buying experience completely frictionless and invisible. You saw the hype around Amazon Go and Google’s ‘Hands Free’ experiment. I’d love to walk into a store, pick up what I want and walk right out. Payment is a barrier; there are even studies investigating the psychological pain involved in making a payment! If we can move the act of payment into the background, consumers get a smoother process and banks and retailers can reduce costs and increase revenues. Everyone wins. The work that Rambus is doing right now is paving the way for this to become a reality.