Mobile Wallet With Offers? That's Smart

Like many baby boomers, I have a love/not-ready-to-try-it relationship with technology. Personal technology is as much a part of my lifestyle as golf was earlier in life (talk about love/hate). Not only am I fascinated by the advances, I’m an eager participant with two smartphones, a Kindle, an iPad and two MacBooks.

If you think I’m “all in,” I’d have to say, “not quite.” You see, when it comes to my money and the technological products around it, I’m as careful as a crossing monitor. To this day I have always walked into a bank, waited in line and walked out with my deposit record delivered to me by a teller. So you now want me to adopt a behavior that has me bumping or scanning my money into my account?

On a panel at this month’s Boomer Summit in San Francisco, Intuit’s Omar Green made a case for me to be “smarter.” Intuit’s director of strategic mobile initiatives said his company is building a mobile wallet that guides you to the optimum purchase. Green spoke of a scenario where the wallet advises you on which credit card to use to get maximum return and the times when you should cash in loyalty points and save your money. That is a compelling concept for me, assuming I can get past the reluctance to hand to Intuit or anyone else details of my arrangements with American Express, the retailer in the mall and the like.

But unlike the ATM where I save time (admittedly no small thing) but nothing else, I conceivably would receive real monetary rewards from a “smart” mobile wallet. Are we ready?

In a KPMG study, U.S. respondents who said they were comfortable using their mobile devices for financial transactions grew only to 16 percent, a 6 percent increase from the last survey. Respondents not comfortable with such usage declined to 55 percent, an 11 percent drop from the last survey. Among all U.S. respondents who have not conducted banking through a mobile device, 52 percent cited security and privacy as the primary reason. Consistent with many technology advances, younger consumers are more likely to participate at least in the early days.

Why might a “smart” mobile wallet work? According to the Yankee Group, 73 percent of mobile subscribers want an offer. I’m in that category. So Intuit and the thousands of others chasing this opportunity have a shot. I’m willing to take a look. But the convincing stage has just begun.

(Post first appeared on Intuit Network