It seems that there’s a new mobile wallet released every week at the moment, with a range of companies trying to take control of what they consider to be a market ready for lift off.
Today it’s the turn of O2, who have launched the O2 Wallet app, which allows you to send money to your friends and shop on the go with a built-in price comparison tool. The app is available whether or not you’re a current O2 customer, and works on iPhone, Android and Blackberry phones. To be able to send or spend money using the app, you’ll have to load money on to it, either from a debit card, or by handing over cash at an O2 store. Money can beÂ transferredÂ back to your bank account either through standard transfer (free, but takes 2-4 working days) or through Faster Payments which transfers the cash in no more than a couple of hours, and is currently free but will cost Â£1 from 1st June 2012.
If you have O2’s Wallet on your phone, you can send money to somebody else simply by sending them a “money message” from the app. Choose the friend and the amount you want to send (up to Â£500), and then confirm and hit send. The recipient will receive a text notifying them, and if they’re not yet an O2 Wallet customer, they’ll be prompted to create an account. Once they have their account, they can then spend the money.
This service is free for the first 6 months, but after that, there will be a charge of 15p per transfer to somebody else.
The O2 Wallet app allows you to scan barcodes and compare prices, and when you choose a retailer to buy from, the app fills in your address and payment details when you buy online. You can see how much you spent on your O2 Wallet, plus receive text alerts.
The app will also give you daily offers, from the likes of Tesco Direct, Comet and Debenhams.
The app is locked with a passcode, and also requires a password to make payments or transfers. What may worry some people is that your money and personal details are “locked away from your phone on a secure server”. Where there are lots of such details available, there are bound to be hackers trying to find a way to unlock that juicy data.
Here’s O2’s video’s of how it all works:
Well, it’s early days, but here are a few thoughts about O2’s mobile wallet. Firstly, the money transfer tool now seems pretty much run-of-the-mill, as we’ve seen a few mobile wallets doing this. The price comparison tool is different though, but I’m not sure how much use that will actually get.
Also, there’s no NFC for contactless payments included in the wallet as yet, although it’s likely to appear in the near future.
The biggest problem are the charges; whilst it’s free to use at the moment, once they introduce a charge for making a transfer, the app won’t be competitive with other similar propositions.