Panelists Discuss the Future of Mobile Wallets

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Panelists Discuss the Future of Mobile Wallets


SALT LAKE CITY -- Online and offline payments could reach a "major inflection point" and converge, Patrick Gauthier, head of marketing intelligence for PayPal, said during a conference call this afternoon hosted by the Smart Card Alliance.

Joining Gauthier were Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer for MasterCard Worldwide; Jim Stapleton, chief sales officer for Isis; and Amy Linden, senior director of new fare payment systems for New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA).

All four panelists discussed the future of mobile wallets, with an emphasis on what McLaughlin called a "broad based goal of adopting EMV." EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, which is a global standard for integrated circuit cards capable of transactions for credit and debit cards.

"We look at how the world will be tomorrow," said Gauthier. "PayPal has been in digital wallets since e-commerce started. We need to look at what 'Digital Wallet 2.0' comprises."

Stapleton added that contactless payment technology works now, but the question has become how to advance it.

One way is to shift further away from in-store transactions only taking place at the checkout counter, said Gauthier. "The evolution of e-commerce foretells the evolutions of payments. In 2009, we processed $150 million in contactless payments," he said. "In 2011, that number rose to $4 million…Our approach is to leverage the cloud. Today, we can do payments in so many different ways. We cannot just be limited by POS (point-of-sale)."

According to Stapleton, retailers are searching for convenience and security when it comes to payment systems. One new exciting mobile payment technology would allow for consumers to pay for goods with a constantly changing code on the back of their credit or debit card.

"Every time you make a mobile payment and tap a code, the three- or four-digit code on the back of your card would perish," he said. "This makes the payment much more secure. All merchants want this technology."

McLaughlin said MasterCard is working to get to the point where consumers can travel throughout the world, make payments and have the same security as they enjoy while sitting at home. Contactless payments expand beyond retailers however, said Linden. She hopes to one day reach a time when MTA commuters can pay a fare anytime they choose, as opposed to only making payments when they walk through a turnstile or step onto a bus.