Mobile wallets: We’ve come a long way baby

No, really, we have!

The dream of leaving your leather wallet at home and using other form factors for payments, primarily smartphones, has been the dream of analysts and prognosticators for many years. Every year, at least one publication stakes the claim that the next year will finally be that year.

  • In 2013, Mobile Payments World asked: “2013: The Year of the Mobile Wallet?
  • The following year, Kantar US Insights stated: “2014 Could Very Well be the Year of the Mobile Wallet.
  • In 2015, Lowestrates.com asked: “Will 2015 Finally Be the Year of the Mobile Wallet?”
  • And in 2016, Affinion titled an article: “2016: The Year of the Mobile Wallet?”

Given the inaccuracies of these predictions, it would seem that the use of mobile wallets has simply stalled for the past five years. But looking back a little further, it is amazing to see how radically the mobile wallet space has changed. Going all the way back to 2011, PC Magazine was already asking the question: “Could our wallets be replaced one day soon by our smartphones?”. That article contained an infographic depicting the top contenders at he time to replace credit cards with your smartphone.

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