Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Live from Prepaid Expo: The Future of Prepaid & Mobile

We wrapped up our last day at Prepaid Expo 2012 by looking ahead at Prepaid in the Future: The Consumers, Products, and Technology in 5, 10, 15 Years, and Mobile - how to do it, Uncovering Mobile Payment Opportunities in Developed and Developing Markets, and the Mobile Wallet and NFC at the Point of Sale: How It Has Been Introduced and Where It Is Heading.

There will be a huge opportunity to do more in Prepaid in the future. 

Prepaid sits at the vanguard of mobile and has had a big role in innovation in the past. There's a lot of room to grow, mobile will be the forefront of innovation. We've just started to scratch the surface - from cash to electronic vehicles for payments. $2.3 trillion still done in cash. Prepaid sits at the center of all of the new mobile applications being developed.

Prepaid has been shouldering its way in terms of other payment forms. There are still a lot problems to be solved, especially in terms of Prepaid. It's still in it's infancy.

There will be a movement toward moving financial literacy and education toward mobile platforms, SMS, social media, etc., Being as inclusive as possible, allowing consumers to experience the brand as a whole.

The global current trends are certainly in this industry's favor, it seems.

The barriers to Prepaid: Do consumers get what we are, what we do, how we can help them? Along with the baggage, the image/reputation. Social media will be a key media to do deliver these messages. The threat to prepaid growth: execution. How can we deliver value and use prepaid to solve real world problems?

Analytics and data insights will be key to understanding our consumers and identifying how to help them and what their needs are - to increase the value of Prepaid in their lives and deliver on this. Our products will have to better and smarter, mobile allows a lot to be done from this framework.

A cashless society will eliminate many of the pain points consumers are currently experiencing. Prepaid cards will have more rewards in the future.In mature markets, we have to accelerate the opportunity. In emerging markets, it's about enabling.

So how exactly can the Prepaid space leverage mobile?

Incorporate mobile into every touch point, have different options/device options, mediums, along with specific user experience for each environment. There are many opportunities for each. For example, 62% of holiday shoppers started on one device, moved to another to complete purchase.

We also need to develop standards for the industry. Albeit no one can control it, except for the consumer.
Although 55 ways of doing something - one way is easier and leads to mainstream adoption. We need to focus on infrastructure too: Privacy..., will lead to innovation. Push to cloud makes it much easier to manage infrastructure

Think about user experience and how to make to make it fun for the user. From a solution/design enhancement angle, mobile will become more nimble and cloud-based. A successful app will start from scratch, with a dedicated focus but who build by consensus. NFC payments are the future, but we need to address the needs of the consumer too. Right now, we are that HD/Blu-ray/DVD phase except with 18 formats?

Things to consider:
What will be frictionless in your environment?
What will bring the greatest value?
What will be the best authentication?
What's the best way to reduce cost?
How do you make prepaid product more relevant and valuable to cardholder before, during, after the payment transaction?

The future: Expect lots of transformation in the next 5 years. "We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten."--Bill Gates

We can't call the winners, but we can call the huge opportunities that lay ahead.

Mobile Payment Opportunities in Developed and Developing Markets?

India, china and Africa have virtually no infrastructure for cashless payments but everyone has a cellphone. A revolution will happen in these markets in the next 5 years.

Give consumers super-easy apps to get them used to payment apps in the future. Imagine mobile/digital goods or services that can also be utilized in a brick and mortar store.

Mobile Payments: 2012 & Beyond:

There's been too much association between NFC and wallets.

User behavior online is directly connected to user behavior offline, in-store.

Wallets will live on the cloud and be accessible from your desktop and connected to your networked profiles. There is still a need to create a seamless, integrated experience between offline and online. At the end of the day, consumers will adopt the most ubiquitous, easiest, intuitive wallet available.

Valerie M. Russo is a Senior Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a technology, anthropology, marketing and publishing business acumen.  She will be attending Prepaid Expo USA 2012 and covering the event live via Twitter and the Prepaid Expo Blog. She is a published poet and also maintains a literary blog. She may be reached Follow her @Literanista. 

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