Think about what we put in our wallet; cash, credit cards, discount cards, receipts, photos, ID cards etc. But thinking about the power of the smart-phone, all these things can converge into one device. This is the mission of ISIS, a joint venture between American telcos, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless.

On stage at Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2012. ISIS CEO, Michael Abbot painted a future where no one will need a physical wallet but simply use their mobile phone to swipe, tap, bump to make a transaction. In an ISIS study with 18-34 year olds in the U.S. and UK, the majority felt more naked without smartphone than without their wallet. When asked, if they would use a mobile wallet, only 15% said ‘yes’ but 70% said they wanted a safe, secure and convenient payment system. This proves that people are not yet psychology prepared to switch from a traditional physical wallet to a mobile wallet but like people eventually accepted buying products and services online, people will accept paying through mobile.

I wonder how long this will take to penetrate China. China is still a very cash based society. The other day in Beijing, I saw people carrying around bundles of cash freely. Although there is a growing wealth, cash in terms of notes and coins are still king and preferred. Yes, there is a growing trend towards credit and debit cards, but I feel it will take significant work to make Chinese comfortable with paying with their mobile. The psychological trust and security barrier is something that will need to be overcome for physical wallets to become digital and mobile.

Jason Lim

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.

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3 Comments

  1. Using 
    credit and debit cards will be more safety and convenience,I am looking forward to using credit cards in China in the feature.

  2. This is nice vision but it will take time to apply it worldwide,it will take time for people too to accept new technology……….

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