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Smart Wallet, Smarter Consumer Behavior: Just Think Twice, It’s All Right

Nicole Yap |

When we want something, we want it as fast as possible. With the addition of new technology, shopping has never been easier; items go from merchant to consumer in a matter of seconds. The release of the new Amazon Fire phone capitalizes on this idea of making transactions quick and easy. From a consumer perspective, this is exactly what we want. From a saver’s side, this product may come across as another obstacle in resisting spontaneous buys.

However, we really can’t blame technology for impulse shopping. In the case of the Amazon Fire, Carl Richards states in his New York Times article [subscription may be required], “We’re making the choice to pick up the phone, and we’re signing on to the idea that we want it to be very easy to buy even more stuff.” The decision on whether or not we buy something is ultimately ours. To break this habit of spontaneous shopping is a choice that should be made by us. We, not our technology, are in control of how we spend our money.

Old habits are hard to break, though. It’s too easy to swipe a credit card and not think about it until the monthly statement comes in. At that point, it’s too late to take back those unnecessary purchases. Sure, you could always try returning them, but wouldn’t it be nice to know how your purchase would affect your savings BEFORE you actually buy an item?

This is where devices like Wocket come in. This gadget is a smart wallet that stores card information and can only be activated by its owner through biometrics. Pete Reville, of MasterCard Marketing & Insights, mentioned in his post that this might not be an item consumers adopted because, after all, who really wants to buy and carry another gadget? However, if it could be further developed into a device that makes consumers aware of how their purchases will affect their finances, maybe they would reconsider it as an item of more value.

In order to make Wocket into a financial management tool, it would need to implement a feature that displays the balances of the accounts that their cards are linked to. Before buying an item, Wocket would display the current funds of the user’s accounts. With this information presented, the user could then decide whether or not they have the money for this item.

As insights from behavioral economics show, we make better decisions when shown the negative outcomes of our choices. Wocket with a financial management feature would give us the obligation to differentiate between a want from a need. If people could see that the new item they want would really put a dent in their savings, they might think twice. What would be great about a gadget like this is that it wouldn’t necessarily decline your transaction; it would just give you the chance to ask yourself, “Do I need this?” or better, “Do I need this today?” Though sometimes we forget, it’s just that simple question we need to ask ourselves before making a smart financial decision.

Topics: Mobile, Payments Strategy, Retail Trends

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