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Virtual Wallets

As virtual wallets became more common, it was only a matter of time before the big players wanted their piece of the market. And with that, Google Wallet and Apple Pay have gained traction, relying on their brand and pushing to make paying with your phone more widely accepted at retailers. 

Both companies have made strong plays in 2015, foreseeing a market opportunity where a retailer would accept either Google Wallet or Apple Pay, but not necessarily both. For Google, the company announced the acquisition of the intellectual property of the carrier-backed competitor Softcard, intending to integrate it into Google Wallet and bundle it with wireless service providers. For Apple, they were able to snag Best Buy and Target, who announced they would accept Apple Pay for mobile application purchases and then make it available in all stores towards the end of 2015. 

While other competitors remain, consumer adoption still appears to be hesitant. Widespread use may be dependent on the use of incentives (such as discounts or reward points for use) and is certainly tied to availability at retailers, a big consideration for a consumer to fully leave their wallet at home. And with hacking scandals seemingly each month, will consumers get over the hump of being comfortable that their credit card data is stored on their phone? Leaving your phone in a cab is daunting enough, but doing so with your entire banking information stored in one app, no matter the security, takes it to a whole new level. Still, if paying with your phone is going mainstream, you’d have to figure that these are the companies to work that out.

David Katz is a Senior Audit Manager providing domestic and international accounting, auditing and business consulting services to public and private clients in a variety of industries.

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