These days, there is a lot of talk about the direction in which mobile wallet platforms might go, and two of the biggest companies behind such products seem to be pushing the boundaries to include more than just credit cards.
Google recently unveiled more of its future plans for its existing Wallet mobile purchasing platform, which it believes will both make it more convenient for users, and more competitive with Apple's forthcoming offering, according to a report from the San Jose Business Journal. Much like the iOS-bsaed smartphone application Passbook, which will be released by Apple on the new operating system for its iPhone 5 later this year, Google Wallet will likely expand to include more types of accounts.
Not only will users be able to load on their credit and debit card accounts as they do now to make purchases in-store and via their mobile connection, but also other items that might be found in their traditional wallets as well, including boarding passes for airlines, event tickets, store loyalty rewards programs, gift cards, and the like.
"One of the types of things we're trying to do is make it easy for airlines, transit providers, and other types of issuers of credentials to make it super simple for them to get their credentials stored in the wallet," Robin Dua, head of product management for Google Wallet, said in a recent online question-and-answer session, according to the report. "That's the goal. We want you to be able to leave your leather wallet at home and carry your phone and transact with that as your primary transaction device."
These new options have already been brought up as prominent features of Passbook, and it's likely that Google, as well as other competitors in the field, will try to keep pace in an attempt to win over early adopters, the report said. However, Apple and Google - as opposed to Square, Isis, PayPal and other such developers - have the distinct advantage of being able to come preloaded on most peoples' smartphones to begin with. Other programs will have to be specifically sought out by customers.
Mobile wallet adoption is expected to become ubiquitous within the next few years, as technology becomes more readily available and consumers warm to the concept of using these programs.