Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Digital Photography, Digital Media, Digital….Wallets?

According to Urban Wallace Associates, more than 6 million U.S. shoppers bought digital gift cards within the past 6 months — a 150% increase since last measured three years ago.” Cards have proven to be convenient and favorable to most consumers because people like to know exactly what they’re purchasing. The transition from paper to plastic seemed to be almost effortless, and it was only a matter of time before it turned digital. Digital transactions are becoming more and more frequent each day, so much in fact that The Square estimates that it “will reach 1 billion in payment volume within a year.”

Last week, Google announced its latest digital development, Google wallet, which will be out this summer. “The first participating retailers will be Macy's, Subway, Walgreens, Toys "R" Us, Bloomingdale's, Guess, and Noah's Bagels. For the payments service, Google is partnering with Sprint, MasterCard, Citi, and FirstData. Eventually boarding passes, tickets, and more will come to the Google Wallet." Coupons and discounts will be offered, and to pay it’s a simple as waving your phone over a terminal. Androids will be the first phone to have Google wallet and it will be interesting to see how phone companies choose to compete with this latest feature, especially with the announcement of a similar service, Visa’s e-wallet. Visa announced their e-wallet will be out this fall in Canada and the United States. “It'll cover all sorts of payment situations, including e-commerce, mobile commerce, micropayments, social networks, and person-to-person payments.

You can bet with the release dates of both devices set for summer/fall there is sure to be buzz in the upcoming months. Do these services signal the end of “cards” as we know them? What do you think?

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