PayPal Exec: Mobile Wallets Address Non-Existent Problem
The mobile wallet field is pretty crowded these days with Google Wallet, Isis, Apple Passbook and others constantly vying for attention.
According to Anuj Nayar, PayPal’s senior director, global communications, that’s exactly the kind of attention his company doesn’t want.
“I beg of you, the media and the industry as a whole – do not call PayPal a mobile payments or mobile wallet company – just call us PayPal,” Nayar said in a blog post published last week.
“I will even settle for digital wallet – but I prefer just ‘PayPal’. We do not want to be lumped into a category where people are using technology to create solutions that are not solving a problem.”
Nayar’s piece implies that mobile wallets attempt to solve a problem that isn’t there, and that it’s the media and industry itself, not consumers, who are driving interest in mobile wallets.
“I spend a lot of time thinking about this as we see everyone struggling with why mobile wallets do not seem to be exciting people as much as Internet shopping did in the 1990s. The problem is that mobile wallets don’t solve any customer pain points by themselves. They don’t offer intrinsic advantages over swiping a credit card or heaven forbid, paying cash.” Nayar wrote.
“To gain mass adoption it has to be better, not just different, from what we do today. And your mobile phone just won’t cut it.”
PayPal offers its own mobile and digital wallet platform, so Nayar’s comments are at once interesting, confusing and mildly contradicting.
Nayar also weighed in on the ever-raging NFC debate, and contactless lovers might want to avert their eyes.
“Tapping a mobile phone on an NFC terminal at a store and selecting from up to 25 credit cards – who cares?” Nayar asked. The PayPal spokesperson also cited a USA Today article slamming NFC’s practicality problem, saying there’s “little to show” for NFC’s efforts to this point.
Nayar isn’t the only PayPal higher-up to cite NFC’s limitations. In early October, Walter Doyle, general manager at PayPal Media Network, Boston, opined that NFC alone wouldn’t be enough to generate interest in mobile wallets.
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