Tim Hayden and I devoted an entire chapter of The Mobile Commerce Revolution to the issue of trust. Indeed, as entities such as Apple Pay, Square, PayPal and others plot to take over the mobile payment world, their biggest obstacle isn't the competition, but how much (or little) consumers can trust these entities with access to their finances.
Consider this: the mobile phone is the key to a direct, one-to-one relationship between a brand and a consumer. We are intimately connected to our smartphones, and our mobile number is the modern day social security number (I doubt I'll ever change mine--will you?) But it's important for brands to think of that relationship as...well...a relationship. A courtship, if you will. If I give a brand my email address, that's essentially letting that brand get to "first base" with me--but no further. Not unless you buy me dinner, at least.
The ultimate goal for many businesses is the mobile wallet. Think about this: if I walk into a local restaurant and pay the check with a Visa or MasterCard, that business sees me as a transaction, but the relationship lies with the credit card company. But if I walk into that same business, and pay using an app that is tied to me, my phone, my purchase history, and my previous transactions with that business, then all of a sudden that relationship is with the business directly, and they can more effectively "court" me with direct communications and relevant offers.
This, of course, is getting to home plate.
I'm willing to "go all the way" with a few brands. Really. But if your brand is trying to woo me, the commitment required for me to round third base is far, far greater than the commitment required for me to give you my email address. We're talking about my money, here. If I am going to give your brand that level of trust, and (financial) intimacy, then you can't keep acting like we're just dating. I've got trust issues.
Take customer service, for example. If I have a problem with your product, and I contact you, I expect you'll get back to me in a reasonable period of time if you want to keep dating. But if I have shared my most intimate financial details with you, well, you'd better have me on speed dial, because I'm not going to be IGNORED, Dan!
I'll give you a more concrete example. If you've ever used an app and had a technical issue, you might have written the developer and expected a response in the next day or two. But what if that app just deducted money from your bank account without warning?
That's exactly what happened to me a week ago with the Starbucks app. On November 9, somebody hacked into my Starbucks account, changed the email, and loaded $100 onto the card from my PayPal account (and, hence, my bank account). I deleted PayPal from the app immediately, and contacted Starbucks on November 9th to resolve the issue.
I finally got my reply on November 16th. One week later! And rather than resolving the issue, they punted it to PayPal, who as far as I can tell is utterly blameless in the affair.
If your bank mistakenly deducted money from your account, would you wait in line for a week? Stay on hold for a week? Of course not. Your relationship with a bank is dramatically different than your relationship with Flappy Birds. But when an app puts its hands directly in your wallet, it treads that territory for the first time. And, like many failed relationships, that app might not really be ready for that level of commitment.
All of this means that once your brand tries to "step up" your relationship with me, the days of "I'll call you sometime" are over. I don't want to hear that you're seeing other customers. Access to my wallet is the most special form of love I can show you. Don't betray that love, OR I WILL BOIL YOUR RABBIT.
As for Starbucks, well, we've decided to see other people.