Wallet Wars in Chicago

MOBILE PAYMENTS: P2P EPayment and Mobile Wallet Ads Battle at the Bus Stops

If you’ve walked up State St. in Chicago’s Loop or along the Magnificent Mile on north Michigan Ave. you’ve likely seen Citi’s ads for Google Wallet. They’re on about every other bus stop.

If you’ve been at the bus stop on the northwest corner of State and Madison, you may have noticed that Chase’s ad for its QuickPay personal-to-personal (P2P) payments faces the inside. . .

Chase Person-to-Person QuickPay Ad

while Citi’s ad faces the outside.

Citi Google Wallet Ad

If it’s really a battle for mindshare, Citi and Google are ahead through sheer quantity. I have only seen one or two of the Chase ads, compared to dozens of Citi ads.

The approaches are very different as well, as are the applications. Citi’s charges a Citi credit card through Google’s mobile phone wallet technology while Chase’s debits a Chase bank account. Citi’s can be used for purchases at the point-of-sale (if supported) while Chase’s is designed to pay an individuals that have email addresses.

Convenient for consumers and the ability to demonstrate how an approach makes all types of payments easier will, in the end, determine which approach consumers adopt. If the advertising is any indicator, however, Citi-Google will win not only the battle for mindshare but the war for consumer adoption.

For a perspective on how easy, or not, it is to use Google Wallet, read “Tapping Spree: How to Spend $100 With Google Wallet.” For an overview of which company will win the wallet wars and under which conditions, read “The battle for Mr. Costanza’s exploding wallet.”