“Stuff” in a Digital Wallet

State of Digital Wallets – Part 6/16

 

This post, “Stuff in a Digital Wallet,” is an excerpt from a report entitled The Current and Future State of Digital Wallets, which is being shared here as a 16-part series. Download a copy of the report. Read a complete summary.

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The earliest Wallets hold a limited set of information. Mainstream Wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay allow simple information to be “carried” inside them:

  • credit cards
  • tickets (e.g. plane tickets, event tickets)
  • simple credentials (e.g. loyalty reward virtual card)

Over time, more types of information will be helpful in a Digital Wallet. This section briefly describes some of the capabilities that Digital Wallets are beginning to (or will) support.

A vital aspect of a Digital Wallet relates to what it isn’t. It’s not “just a database” for things, nor a cache of information. The way that a Digital Wallet needs to store and access encrypted data make it a terrible choice for both. A Digital Wallet should hold the things you need, not just anything you can stuff into it.

​Receipts, Ownership, and Warranties

Receipts – As receipts generate from transactions made through or with the Digital Wallet, the digital wallet stores the data in a digital format. This allows for easy retrieval of purchase history and other important information. Additionally, the structure of receipts contains valuable information such as prices and item descriptions. By collecting this data, we can build vast stores of knowledge currently underutilized. New opportunities are available with the rich information that digital wallets can harvest from receipts. For example, we can better understand how ownership and warranties are related.

Ownership – consider each purchase that you make. Why doesn’t your Wallet maintain a list of the things that you own? Currently, there is a very indirect link between a receipt for payment and any formal registration of ownership, other than some key assets. Most items – like a camera – don’t have the explicit linkage of your purchase assigning the ownership. Sure, the store maintains that a payment was made for a device – but it isn’t logging the device’s serial number, nor is it assigning direct ownership over to you.

Warranties – similar to ownerships, your Digital Wallet should be able to take the various things that you own and assign their warranties and other programs directly to you.

Avoid the ”shoe box” problem

One of the problems identified with the various receipts we gather over time (e.g. health care services, meals) is that we don’t always get these things taken care of. The health insurance industry calls this the “shoe box” problem. The average Canadian loses over $500 annually because they forget to file various health insurance items that can be reimbursed. A Digital Wallet with an Agent that monitors for multiple types of information (e.g. a Health Insurance Agent looking for eligible receipts) can take care of this problem.

Address Book & Relationships

Our Digital Wallet will help us manage our connections with various people and organizations. With private pairwise connections established with each party we work with, our Digital Wallet becomes an ideal address book. Each relationship can have rich information associated – and we may have many connections that jointly create a strong relationship with a person.

​Consent Receipts

As more and more privacy laws are enacted, the need to manage what we have agreed to share increases. A Digital Wallet, and the Agents that run as part of it, can help maintain the various consent receipts that pertain to:

  • what we share;
  • when it can be used; and
  • how we can sever or change our consent.

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This post, “Stuff in a Digital Wallet,” is an excerpt from a report entitled The Current and Future State of Digital Wallets, which is being shared here as a 16-part series. Download a copy of the report. Read a complete summary.

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Also published on Medium.

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