July 2, 2015
Making an attempt to give its customers a seamless value-added purchase process, Singaporean bank DBS has added the PayLah! app to its services. Now, a DBS bank customer can link their accounts to add funds to the mobile wallet. These can be then used for online payments, purchases with selected merchants, donations and even small payments between friends.
PayLah!, which is an extension of the iPhone app for the Apple watch version, can be enabled with Bluetooth sync between the two devices. Users don’t have to download a separate app to their watch. Instead, they can update their mobile app to work with it. For now, the app will let users receive notifications on their transactions and view available balance on the watch. Eventually, the app will offer functions like sending money and the ability to approve requests for funds, using the Apple watch. However, there are still no immediate numbers on how widely this is being used in Singapore. Play Store’s installation statistics for PlayLah! currently list it in the 100, 000 to 500, 000 category, which is a big margin but doesn’t really indicate a lot of active users or transaction numbers.
The mobile wallet segment is a fast-emerging one, with players being added by the month and year. Others in the race include PayPal, which lets users pay for items purchased by entering their mobile phone numbers at the checkout counter. Google Wallet for Android devices uses a vendor to pay merchants, where the user is issued a virtual prepaid card which then makes the payments; the user then pays Google which in turn pays the vendor. Square’s wallet app—which lets users pay over a Wi-Fi network with their smartphones—and LevelUp—which lets customers pay in-store with smartphones—are the other players in this segment. Making an entry into this fast-emerging mobile wallet segment soon is Samsung Pay, which will work at any retailer with a standard card swiper. Samsung has teamed up with a host of payment service providers and said that the app will be accepted at 90% of retailers.
As the number of mobile wallet services increase, it’s just a matter of time till card payment options become significant in the minority. As technology evolves, mobile wallets will benefit both merchants and consumers by making purchasing faster, handling less paper money, and letting business and consumers use their already existing loyalty to redeem or transmit, optimise marketing strategies and customer management in a new fashion.