Don’t look now but, you may be paying more for using mobile payment systems like Google Wallet and PayPal before long. During the recent Barclays Emerging Payments Forum, CEO of Visa Charlie Scharf hinted that his company may be soon following his company’s main competitor Master Card’s lead as they look to find a way to monetize those services by charging fees.
When asked directly about the fees Mr. Scharf replied “I think it is totally appropriate to do that.” This should not really come as a surprise to anyone though as we’ve already seen the two credit card companies along with Discover, and American Express partner with three of the four major US carriers (excluding Sprint) on the Isis mobile payment system, a direct competitor to Pay Pal and Google Wallet, so it only makes sense that they want to protect their investment. As it stands right now Master Card’s fees will begin to go into effect in June.
This way of business has actually been a long time coming. Services like Wallet and PayPal have been acting as a go between from the consumer and the merchant almost as a digital firewall all the while limiting the information being sent back to the credit card company. As these services move out of the digital realm and more into direct type payments they are severely cutting into the business models of the credit card companies.
Added Scharf: “We are always thinking about those relationships and they have changed. And if they changed enough that we think it warrants us to change something with us, we will do that.”
In many ways this is just an extension of how we use our regular debit or credit cards at a physical brick and mortar store right now. As it is the stores are charged a nominal fee which is then passed on to the customer. This is just another layer of fees that will be passed along for the convenience of using the service. Is it worth a few extra cents to you for the ability to put all of your cards into Google Wallet and not have to worry about carrying around all your plastic? Let us know in the comments.