Credit unions have found a new place to add value in the mobile wallet wars. They can help local businesses launch mobile wallets and help those businesses be just like a very friendly coffee company we all have come to know and love, or at minimum, admire. The most successful mobile wallet has become very popular very quickly, and it has achieved this success in a quiet way. While some mobile wallet providers such as Samsung and Apple (referred to collectively as “The Pays”) have made loud splashes when launching their offerings, the most successful mobile wallet is not even considered a true mobile wallet by many industry pundits.

What is this fabled wallet? Who makes it and where do you get it? Well, I hope you like coffee, because it’s Starbucks. More than 20% of the company’s payments now come through its mobile app. And, it is rapidly adding features like Order-Ahead and strengthening its loyalty programs. Rather than wait for the future promise of mobile wallets, Starbucks did its own thing. The Pays have failed to take the world by storm. Yes, someday we may use a single mobile wallet loaded up with all our cards, to make payments everywhere. But that day is not today. And, that day is probably not even coming soon. Enter business-specific mobile wallets. Enter Starbucks, and all of the other businesses that are following suit.

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