Mobile wallets have been hailed as the future of payments, but O2 have backed out of the game.
The Telefonica owned mobile network O2 has announced that it will discontinue it’s mobile wallet service 18 months after it’s official launch.
Having featured functionality for peer-to-peer payments, barcode searches for comparison shopping, voucher codes for retailers, money storage from both debit cards and cash, as well as a Visa pre-paid card for shopping online and in store, the O2 Money Wallet was one of the more comprehensive mobile wallet offerings on the market. So, news that O2 will be receding from the mobile wallets game is quite a shock to the payments market – and makes the case for everyone switching to mobile wallets a little harder to swallow.
A statement on the O2 Money website states no real clear reason for O2′s departure from the service, other than to give them “time to look into new and better ways to help people manage their money on the move, both in the UK and abroad.”
One can only assume that the mobile wallet service just wasn’t in demand enough to keep it running, thus O2 opting for another service. Worryingly, the teleco hasn’t released any figures around customer numbers or transaction volumes, so it’s safe to say it hadn’t really hit the mark too well in the marketplace.
What does this spell for mobile wallets in the long term?
Probably not an awful lot.
But with a player as big as O2 shying away from the medium, it’s definitely not a good look for mobile wallets. Still, there’s plenty of time for something new to come about as mobile wallets are still very much in their infancy. It also seems that O2 have something else planned for the future, and seeing as they entered the mobile wallet market 18 months ago, it could well be a promising new product that’s ahead of the payments curve.
Until then, O2 Wallet users will need to empty their wallets by 31st March when the plug is finally pulled.
How do you think this will impact the mobile wallet market? Will anyone actually miss the service?