WASHINGTON —The mobile wallet wars will be over inside two years. That was the chilling prediction offered on Thursday at the BAI Retail Delivery conference by Carl Tsukahara, chief marketing officer at Monitise.
The U.K.-based mobile apps developer recently acquired ClairMail, which had succeeded in staking out a foothold in the U.S. market “but as Monitise we are unknown in the U.S.,” Tsukahara shrugged.
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Tsukahara’s message to financial institutions is that the time has passed for sitting on the sidelines because non-banks – think PayPal, Google, Amazon, possibly Apple – are circling and they seem ready to attempt to disintermediate financial institutions.
Tsukahara cited third-party research that showed 50% of consumers indicated a preference for PayPal as their mobile wallet provider. Thirty-percent (30) liked Google. A similar number liked Apple.
“The dangers are real,” said Tsukahara, who explicitly indicated that Monitise’s vision is to tweak its mobile banking app – presently in some 300 institutions worldwide (including Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, the $3 billion Phoenix institution) – to take on more characteristics of a mobile wallet.
“The real battle is for consumer engagement,” said Tsukahara. “The risks for financial institutions are real. But so are the opportunities.
“Don’t wait, that’s the key. We believe the pecking order in the mobile wallet wars will be well defined within 24 months.”
He added, “We need to get financial institutions in that pecking order.”
Tsukahara, responding to a reporter’s question, seemed to shrug off the significance of announcements at BAI that two leading developers – mFoundry and Intuit – had schemes for opening their mobile banking apps to third party-developed content.
“We have opened our apps for years,” said Tsukahara. “In the Far East you can buy cinema tickets in one app. In the U.K. you can top up prepaid phone plans in app. What we are about is aggregating experiences inside the app. That engages the consumer.”