Mobile wallets got off to a rocky start, without a doubt.

As a payments tool, the mobile wallet is doing a lackluster job at best.  As a matter of fact, the primary reason that people don’t use mobile wallets to make payments is because it’s easier to use a card to pay.

49% of people think it’s easier to pay with a card.

43% of people think it’s not safe.

These are not good numbers when we talk about mobile wallets and their acceptance rates across the spectrum.

[LISTEN: Loyalty program setup using mobile wallets and iBeacons – PODCAST EPISODE]

On the other hand, a recent Mastercard study shows that there is still hope for the medium –

Digital wallets continued to gain prominence in smartphones and laptops across the globe and dominated the discussion of new ways to pay, with the topic now topping 75 percent of conversations tracked in the 2017 edition of the Mastercard Digital Payments Study.

At the same time, consumers are showing an increased interest in the application of new technologies to make shopping faster, easier and more secure. The topic of virtual reality generated the most positive sentiment as shoppers imagine completing a purchase with the simple nod of their head.

What is the mobile wallet being used for, if not payments, right now?

That’s an easy one.  Mobile wallets are being used as marketing tools.  Smart marketers are creating campaigns using the wallet as a delivery mechanism.   Both broad and narrow range targeting enable retailers to utilize the lock screen notifications to increase brand awareness, deliver bonus content, tailor loyalty and rewards programs to meet specific customer needs, and to increase both the frequency and amount of purchases being made by customers who have opted in for mobile wallet ad notifications.

One means of using mobile wallets for high impact, high visibility campaigns is the adoption of mobile only ticketing by NBA and other sports teams.  Starting with the Golden State Warriors, and moving quickly through the league, many venues are only issuing mobile tickets.

[READ: Top NBA Teams Move to Mobile Ticketing – BLOG ARTICLE]

So the onus is likely on the retailers, marketers, advertisers and non financial services end of the business to get the adoption rates moving in the correct direction.  Mobile wallets offer an easy means to directly contact and engage with customers at a point in time that makes sense to the customer, increases the ticket size and frequency for the merchant, and enables a more seamless process to keep the whole thing moving forward.

And what merchant doesn’t want 24/7 access to their customer base?