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Mobile Phone Morphs into a Mobile Wallet

As many as 25 million wireless phone subscribers in North America could be using their mobile phones as mobile wallets by 2011, reports In-Stat.

Unlike M-commerce, the mobile transaction concept touted in the 1990s that never took hold, the mobile wallet is a much more versatile application that includes elements of mobile transactions, as well as other items one may find in a wallet, such as membership cards, loyalty cards, and other forms of identification.

"In-Stat believes that the market can grow only by adopting a technology that offers the most versatility by providing both transaction capability and content discovery," says David Chamberlain, In-Stat analyst. "There are several technologies that could enable mobile wallet operations of handsets, including Near Field Communications (NFC), Radio Frequency (RFID), bar codes, and visual recognition. Standardization efforts around NFC may give that system the edge."

In-Stat found the following:

- Attitudes of US users towards mobile wallets are at best, lukewarm, with roughly one-third of respondents interested, one-third indifferent, and one-third uninterested.
- The most frequently mentioned barrier to the mobile wallet is added fees for its use (72 percent of respondents), followed by security concerns about loss of the phone and privacy.
- Survey data found that mobile wallet was most appealing to technology innovators and early adopters as well as subscribers who already rely heavily on their wireless phones.

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