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Fifth Third Swings for the Mobile Wallet Fences

Mobile-Shopping-iconGo big or go home: Fifth Third on Jan. 11 said that its customers can now use five major mobile wallet providers, with debit and credit card purchases via the recently added Android Pay and Microsoft Wallet, along with previous partners Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Masterpass. The deal comes amid a heady time for mobile wallets, and stands as a potentially significant gain for Microsoft’s fledgling mobile payments technology.

Research firm eMarketer said U.S. consumers spent $27.67 billion via mobile payments last year, a 183 percent year-over-year gain. That spending will double in 2017, eMarketer said. That expanding market is driving mobile wallet activity. For instance, China-based UnionPay recently brought its mobile wallet to North America. And in one of the bigger recent moves, the U.S.’s largest bank by assets finally debuted the Chase Pay app in stores, online and for in-app payments. The Chase Pay mobile app, which followed Capital One and Wells Fargo m-wallets to the market, enables consumers to pay at more than 7,500 participating Starbucks locations in the U.S. and nearly 1,400 Best Buy stores using QR codes—with Touch ID capability to be added later.

Microsoft, meanwhile, launched its mobile wallet in June. The wallet works at about 1 million retailers and will support payments made via Mastercard and Visa. Microsoft is a tiny player in this space, with Windows phones accounting for less than 1 percent of global market share, according to Gartner. But the Fifth Third deal could raise the profile of the service.

“At a time when more consumers want to make mobile payments, Fifth Third is pleased to be one of the first banks to offer all five mobile payment options,” said Fifth Third Bancorp President and CEO Greg Carmichael.

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