The battle for the wallet continues to ratchet up, with consumers provided with an expanding portfolio of viable options that combine security and convenience in varying level dependent on the individual’s needs. Payment account and card repositories integrated into smartphone devices have taken a central stage, with both native device technologies (Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay) squaring off with other solutions provided by companies such as Coin and Plastc.
‘Curve’ is the latest company to throw its hat into the ring, offering an all-in-one credit card that can store all your credit and debit cards. Furthermore, what makes Curve different from some of its competitors is its combined utilization of chip-and-pin, magnetic stripe and contactless technology, not to mention the fact that it is backed by the MasterCard network.
The offering from Curve sets itself as the bridge for its clients to adopt and use a mobile wallet through integration of a broad payment spectrum payment card managed via a mobile app. The format addresses those consumers that may be eager incorporate tech-enable payment mechanisms, but have some reservations around acceptance and security, which the backing by the trusted MasterCard network will help to allay.
So how does Curve work? You open the Curve app on your iOS device, order a card, select a security PIN, than start adding your credit and debit cards to the account. Those with an extraordinary amount of plastic in their wallets or purses won’t have to worry as Curve supports an unlimited amount of cards. Once you place your order, you’ll wait for it to arrive in the mail, at which point, you just sync the card to your account via the app using the last four digits of the Curve card. After syncing, you can use the card and select different cards via the app before swiping.
Mercator Advisory Group believes the Curve product, similar in form to Google Wallet with its blend of traditional payment card technology with the smartphone, as well as the wider range of hybrid and pure-play smart-phone solutions will certainly find expanded fertile ground to take root, but acceleration of growth will remain dependent on consumers perceiving real value. Until consumers realize savings of time and/or money through use of mobile wallets, uptake will remain gradual.
Overview by Joe Walent, Senior Analyst, Emerging Technologies Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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