The commute started with a bang today. Got to the tube station nice and early to then realise I was sans Oyster card. I could either pay for a new one for the sake of two journeys, or trudge back to the flat to find it. I chose the latter. Eventually on the tube, I got thinking: surely I can’t be the only commuter this happens to on a regular basis? I’m fortunate enough to have the option of going back home to pick up my card, but what about those who live miles away and have enough spare Oyster cards in their wallets to rival TFL HQ? Surely there should be an easier way to get through this when ‘morning brain’ strikes.
With the recent rise of ‘contactless purchasing’, it was no surprise or coincidence that I later came across an article based on the idea of leaving your wallet at home – and the role increasingly omnipotent smart phones could have in easing this daily annoyance. With their sights set on world domination, eventually we can only assume that smart phones will be able to give everything you could possibly need. A modern Swiss Army knife, if you will…
They do a pretty good job of it already – I have my entire music collection on there, along with my daily fix of gossip, what the weather might decide to do today and, of course, the mighty Facebook. I feel more lost without my phone than I do without my Oyster card and purse, so wouldn’t it make more sense to ‘have an app for that’, since there seems to be an app for absolutely everything else you would ever need in your day-to-day life?
Barclays blazed the trail with its contactless card, making it possible to pay for purchases in-store by simply swiping a chip across the machine, taking precious seconds off transaction time. I can book a train back to Scotland on my phone and pick the tickets up at the station without having to speak to anyone, or even take my bank card out of my purse. Surely the next inevitable step must be to combine the two together and simply swipe your smart phone at tube barriers?
It would be a phenomenon for the frequent high street shopper; instead of carrying around a purse bulging with loyalty cards and discount vouchers, simply hand over your phone to reap rewards and get rid of all the plastic. Voucher Cloud already does this for the voucher bunnies out there and others should follow suit. Not only would this help the consumer, but also allow companies to take advantage of marketing promotions and provide a channel for real-time interaction with their consumers – key to building even better, longer lasting relationships with them.
With no more printed vouchers to leave behind, no more loyalty cards to lose and no more Oyster cards left in another coat pocket, it’s win-win for both customers and brands. A digital wallet is the way forward.