Dudas references Priebatsch's recent business discussions with a major fast-food chain that spends $650 million a year on ads. He argued that LevelUp's hardware solution for accepting mobile payments from customers was squarely meant for small- and medium-sized businesses. It's certainly not an unreasonable claim--it's difficult to imagine walking into a fast food chain and waving your smartphone at a flimsy countertop gadget to pay for your greasy goodies. But Priebatsch wasn't convinced Google Wallet was the beloved alternative. Google claims that tens of millions of people have Google Wallet accounts, but that sheds little light on how many people are actually using their Android phones to make real-world purchases.
Fat chance that the $650 mil ad spending QSR puts this LevelUp doodad on their counter: fastcompany.com/3001068/how-le…. This is an SMB solution period— Mike Dudas (@mdudas) September 6, 2012
@mdudas You have "tens of millions" of people paying with their phones in the real world with Google Wallet? Where?! Impressive if true.— Seth Priebatsch (@sethpriebatsch) September 6, 2012
What began as a cheeky joke about user numbers gave way to the legitimate question of how well Google Wallet will be adopted by users in the future. If you consider Google Wallet as the standalone, NFC-based Android app Dudas is referring to, it's simply another payments solution that happens to use NFC technology. In other words, it's nothing radical. But a week ago, Google Wallet's product head Robin Dua implied that Google Wallet isn't just an easy way to pay, but rather a way to condense and organize all the paper and plastic bits-and-pieces of your identity, from cash and credit cards to ID documents and boarding passes. The more options Google Wallet can pack into in one easy-to-use app, the more compelling it is as a service, and the greater its opportunity to profit off those features. (Whether that's through targeted ads, transaction fees, or another monetization method).
@sethpriebatsch Nah, of course not. Just making point that Google Wallet is far broader than the NFC-based Android app that gets most press— Mike Dudas (@mdudas) September 6, 2012
@sethpriebatsch Re: original tweet, merchants sophisticated enough to use LevelUp non-payment tools are least likely to install HW, no?— Mike Dudas (@mdudas) September 6, 2012