It seems these days everyone has a smartphone the majority of their life revolves around – and if they don’t, they are waiting for their next upgrade to join this elite club. As the mobile movement has continued to evolve, it seems that all any of us will ever need is our mobile phones and our lives are complete. Recently, many companies are realizing the benefits of implementing a mobile-focused strategy to their business. Two immediate examples: Starbucks and Visa.
A recently launched Starbucks iPhone application has provided users with the ability to turn their tangible Starbucks card into a balance right within this application. Once a customer buys a card, they can input their card number and the application uploads the current balance. The clever part? When a customer is ready to purchase, they can open the application and reveal a barcode that is scanned at the register for a sale.
This is the start of something huge. With roughly 6,800 company-operated Starbucks stores implementing this new service throughout the nation, it should be only a matter of time before other businesses realize the huge benefits this feature can offer for the consumer and merchant alike.
A more revolutionary example of this would be Visa Europe, with their newly launched iPhone based contactless mobile payment service. With the partnership of Wireless Dynamics, the service has been developed and launched.
Prior to the official launch of this service, Visa made sure to follow through with a customer assessment to see if it would actually be adopted by consumers. After realizing a majority would take advantage of this service, they saw the green light.
In order for this service to work on the iPhone, users must first download the iCarte capability, an accessory that works alongside NFC (Near Field Communications). Because Apple does not currently support NFC, iCarte is necessary for users to make these purchases. However, future iPad and iPhone versions might integrate NFC into their service, so this can be done without an extra accessory. Eventually, once Apple does include NFC with the iPhone, users will be able to tap directly into their own bank accounts right from their mobile phones.
Although currently this is only available in Europe, businesses like Starbucks show a glimpse of the mobile future. Your virtual wallet is calling. Forget packing everything but the kitchen sink – soon, all you will need is your mobile phone.