Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mobile Wallet Adoption in the Casino Payments Industry

There is a lot of talk about mobile payments and the applications to the casino industry may be the most interesting. The question about when credit or debit cards, checks, and cash will be “Mobile Funds” may be getting closer given the recent developments from the card issuers, mobile carriers, mobile consumers, casino operators, and start-up gaming payment companies like Sightline Payments.

Kirk Sanford stated “Through our technology and processing partners, hundreds of millions of mobile subscribers in the US can one day use their mobile phones to complete transactions quickly and securely while having the freedom to choose the financial instruments in their mobile wallet and subsequently make a transfer into their pre-paid account for gaming entertainment.”

Carriers and credit-card companies like Visa and MasterCard are embracing near-field communications, or NFC, which allows people to wave their card or mobile phone in front of an NFC reader to pay for goods and services. NFC is already found in credit and debit cards, and can be accepted at drugstore chains and gas stations. Companies now rely on NFC stickers or memory cards with an NFC chip inserted into mobile phones.

Merchants such as Starbucks are utilizing a competing technology with QR bar codes। Financial institutions, merchants, mobile network operators, payment networks, NFC chip manufacturers, and mobile payment vendors all have a vested interest in the deployment of NFC enabled mobile wallets, an application that essentially turns a mobile phone into a wallet that can carry payment instruments and other features such as loyalty programs, couponing, ticketing, and entry keys.

Here are some of the casino mobile wallet (Mobile Funds) questions to be considered:
• What are the primary obstacles to mobile wallet deployment in casinos?
• What should be the clear direction for a comprehensive mobile wallet deployment be in casinos?
• What do card issuers, mobile carriers, mobile consumers, and casino operators desire from mobile wallet deployment?
• How should casino operators market mobile wallet functionality?
• How many consumers are likely to adopt mobile contactless in the United States?
• What lessons from international markets may be applied to the United States?
• Could casinos be the first to see a broader adoption of mobile payments?

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