Confusion on Hot Topics Mobile, P2P and Social Pay
LAS VEGAS — The research by Boston-based AlixPartners exploded on the screen at BAI Payments Connect 2012. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the availability of good mobile services has emerged as a top factor in why consumers choose to change financial institutions, reported Teresa Epperson, AlixPartners managing director.
A stunned disbelief settled over the room. Few of the banking and credit union executives present had seen this coming. But, according to Epperson, the facts are the facts. “There is a revolution going on,” she said.
“The marketplace is changing so quickly, but the need is to take action,” said Jim Marous, a senior director at Harland Clarke, a provider of integrated marketing solutions.
A reality in the race to displace cash, is that “cash is frictionless,” said George Warfel, an executive with Fiserv, and what consumers want is frictionless transactions. Create obstacles and make it hard to transfer money out of a P2P account for instance, and that defines failure.
The use of mobile devices in reward programs definitely is early stage, but, said Tom Breecher, CEO of Cartera Commerce, a developer of card linked marketing solutions, there is mounting merchant interest “in much better targeted offers than, say, a Groupon.” A mobile powered offer just might be that ticket, he suggested.
But there is an undeniable obstacle. Consumer comfort just is not there yet. “Consumers are comfortable paying with a credit card. They aren’t with paying with a phone,” said Breecher. At least not yet. But he also said there is a way to overcome that hurdle.“Give them offers available only on their phones.” If the offer is compelling, the discomfort will vanish, he suggested.