Five types of mobile wallet services and how they can help you

By Dr. Danny Fundinger, on


So far in the mobile wallet series, I’ve provided an in-depth view of mobile wallets—from their definition to their categorization into proximity and remote mobile wallets, as well as umbrella and integrated mobile wallets.

Now, we can move on to mobile wallet services and functions, since without services, mobile wallets are useless. That is the reason why the development of a business model for a mobile wallet requires a strategy for the selection, provisioning and integration of adequate services into the wallet. The range for remote wallets focuses on payment services and value-added services for payment, especially in the area of loyalty and couponing. But the range of services for proximity wallets can be at least as diverse as the various contents within a physical wallet, as illustrated in the figure below.

Mobile wallet services

The main types of mobile wallet services are:

  1. Payments and cards: Card emulation for contactless cards (credit, debit, prepaid), e-payments-based services (remote payments) or peer-to-peer payments with or without a stored value account
  2. Coupons and loyalty: Coupons, gift cards, loyalty programs or any other commerce-based service for discounts or rewards
  3. Tickets and transport: Any form of tickets, boarding passes or check-ins for means of transport or for venues or events like cinemas, concerts and so forth
  4. Access and keys: Any type of access or usage allowance, like keys for cars, buildings, private homes, hotel rooms and so on
  5. Identity: Any type of personal identification, like passports, driving licenses, employee IDs and so forth

Mobile wallet services

Mobile wallet service and access options

Putting these services into the mobile wallet can provide quite a lot of opportunities for service providers and users.

Compared with the traditional plastic cards, mobile wallet services can be issued on the fly through a mobile network. A mobile user interface and the sensors of the mobile device provide new, powerful opportunities for interaction with services.

As an example, you could issue a temporary car key to a friend into his proximity wallet. Additionally, services can be linked and combined within the wallet. You could buy a mobile ticket with a payment service in the wallet, or redeem a coupon immediately at the time of a transaction using a payment service.

Almost everyone carries a smartphone these days, but imagine not having to carry a physical wallet for payment cards, tickets, loyalty cards, access cards and so on, because all of the services are now provided in the mobile wallet in your phone.

But what does a day of using a mobile wallet really look like? In my next post, we’ll meet Anna and see a day in her life using a proximity wallet.

About The Author

Dr. Danny Fundinger

Managing Consultant at IBM Global Business Services

Danny Fundinger is an expert and enthusiast on Mobile Payments and Mobile Wallets at IBM Global Business Services in Germany. As part of the Mobile Center of Competence, he takes an active role in shaping and building IBM's value propositions and solutions for a smarter payments and mobile world. Besides writing and thinking about the frontiers of the mobile age, he supports international clients on mobile strategies and their implementation. Danny has a background in Computer Science and graduated with a PhD at the University of Stuttgart. Prior to his professional career in business and IT consultancy, he spent several years in Russia for research in the academic field of Chaos Theory, where he also gained a lot of practical experience about this topic. An experience, which has made him addicted to the creative challenge of innovation.

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