Windows phone walletWith the new wallet feature in Windows Phone 8 I can’t wait for developers to start updating their apps so I can get rid of some of the endless cards and coupons in my wallet!

How many membership cards, credit cards, and coupons are you carrying in your wallet or purse? I have four sections of my wallet for cards: personal credit and bank cards, work credit cards & id, shopping cards, and travel membership cards. As a result my wallet is getting pretty thick and I have become very choosy about any additional frequent whatever clubs I sign up with because I just don’t have any room left in my wallet!

When I finally had time to sit down and really look at the wallet feature in Windows Phone 8, it took me a minute or two to understand how it worked. Now I’ve had time to read a bit more, I can’t wait until apps start coming out leveraging this feature.

Let me explain it from four perspectives, you can just read the perspective that interests you.

  • What does wallet do for the phone user?
  • What can a big company do with a phone app and wallet?
  • What can a small company do with a phone app and wallet?
  • What should an app developer read up on to implement it?

What does wallet do for the phone user?

Find deals and store my membership cards

It’s Friday and I need to do some shopping for my son’s birthday. My first stop is ABC Books. I find a few good books and when I get to the cash they ask me if I have my ABC Books rewards card. ABC Books has a Windows Phone app that uses wallet cards. I pull out my phone bring up the wallet hub and show them the membership card from the wallet, they scan the code on the screen and I get my points, then I remember getting a deal from them a few days earlier. I swipe over to the deals and show them the $10 off purchases of $50 or more coupon, they scan the QR code on the page and I save $10. With my unexpected savings, I decide to stop and splurge on a little snack. I bring up maps on my phone and find two nearby coffee shops, YummyCoffee is advertising a deal for a free muffin when you buy a drink. I Share the deal with my sister in case she wants to join me and head out for a coffee.

Make purchases from apps on my phone

As I sit sipping my coffee, I decide to start playing a new phone game I recently downloaded called Exploding Bananas. I’m enjoying the game, and after a few minutes I decide to buy the full version. I use the in app purchase capability which then prompts me for my wallet pin, I select my TrustMe Bank credit card to pay for the game. I click Buy, and now I can start playing the full version of Exploding Bananas.

Pay for purchases in a store

If I have a phone with a secure SIM card and my bank has a Windows Phone app, I could have paid for my books using the phone as well with a tap much like you do with some credit cards, but support for the credit card payment with the phone will vary. The ability to tap to pay is dependent on a) the bank having a Windows Phone app, and b) my phone provider having secure SIM cards. This is a bit different from the Google wallet where the device itself must be secure. The advantage to the secure SIM model, is if you buy a new phone next year you already have a secure SIM that you just move to your new phone. But even without those features the wallet hub still cuts down on the thickness of my physical wallet by storing my membership cards and helping me store and discover coupons.

What can a big company do with wallet?

Support frequent traveler/buyer programs

As a business traveller, I see huge potential in all those frequent traveler programs moving to Windows Phone. Imagine the possibilities if FlyWithMe airlines went all out with Windows Phone 8 support. I could go to the wallet hub, see how many frequent flyer points I have. Tap the card to go to the FlyWithMe phone app and cash in points to book a flight or request an upgrade.

Support payment using the phone

The banks are among the companies that I hope are first to jump on the Windows Phone wallet wagon! Because if a bank supports Windows Phone 8 wallet, I can then use my credit card or bank card to make a purchase on my phone either through a phone app, or in person with secure NFC.

Allow me to make purchases from their store on the phone

Online shopping is already a reality, why not allow me to do my online shopping on the go with my phone? With the wallet you can add in app purchase to your phone apps.

What can a small company do with wallet?

Help people find your business

With the ability to show deals in maps, a casual customer looking for a lunch spot can find out about that special you have today and may choose to visit your business over another and they can share the deal with others

Make money with their phone apps

With the wallet, you can now have in app purchases. This makes it easier for someone to upgrade to the paid version of your app, purchase an add-on to your app, or purchase a service or product from your company.

What should an app developer read up on to implement it?

Here’s a few good resources

If you want to see how wallet looks, there’s a nice video that gives you a great overview. If you are looking for more Windows Phone resources check our resource page and don't forget about the Developer Movement promotion that rewards Canadians for their apps!