Mobile Banking Research: What will the wallet of the future be?

  • Conduct competitive analysis of the mobile wallet landscape
  • Research and leverage best practices for mobile banking designs
  • Identify barriers for marketplace and customers

Access and Convenience

This project focused on creating a possible mobile wallet solution for companies who wanted to reduce transaction fees. The project was never implemented, but the prototype I developed allowed me to explore the inherent challenges and barriers including (but not limited to): user mental models, near-field communication adoption, technology hurdles, users’ fear and mistrust of the system, merchants’ unwillingness to upgrade expensive technology, and a lack of a consistent platform for delivering a mobile solution.

Solution As Part of a Larger System

Many companies are pursuing mobile wallet solutions, however the available research indicates that most solutions are being created either in small collectives (like ISIS), unilateral solutions like Google Wallet, or small-scale partnerships (Starbucks and Square). These solutions help address many of the backend challenges, but do not help users feel comfortable using a system or understanding the different solutions that will be available to them.

Barriers for Users

Creating a non-standard system that makes users pay with different methods and means, depending on the retailer, is not likely to engender success or trust in the system. Beyond the logistical burdens for users, many mobile wallets do not support older users who may struggle with reading their phones and may not have as much dexterity with smartphone applications. Some studies show that that people over 40 are among the fastest adopters of new, smartphone technology.

Areas for Future Research

My initial sketches focused on creating large affordances when possible, scaling type, and clear calls to action for a user.  Future research includes reviewing contrast ratios in the field to optimize use. Field research must also be supported with ethnographic research to determine why users may or may not trust a product and to identify other possible barriers for users to adopt the mobile wallet.