By Jonathan Chen
This morning came an announcement from a $750 million company that could potentially be the continuation of a revolution worth billions and billions of dollars.
Peet's Coffee & Tea (NASDAQ:PEET) announced this morning it will start to accept payments with cards loaded into Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Wallet and MasterCard (NYSE:MA) PayPass™ contactless cards. The payments will start to be accepted by the end of the month.
MasterCard (MA) has been especially bullish on the mobile wallet, and mentioned it during its earnings release in August. Ajay Banga, MasterCard president and chief executive officer made sure to talk about how important it is. Banga said, “During the quarter, work continued in the mobile commerce category highlighted by an agreement with Google and multiple partners to launch the Google Wallet, as well as our alliance with Isis, in the U.S. Additionally, the previously announced Orange and Barclaycard contactless mobile payment service became available to U.K. consumers in May. Other notable agreements we executed include a commercial alliance with China Union Pay to enable its cards for cross-border e-Commerce, and a new, multi-product agreement with Swedbank in the Nordics and Baltics region.”
The digital wallet revolution is upon us, and has seen an increase of announcements and news coverage over the past few months. In the world of technology, sometimes we forget that things do not happen overnight, and we tend to forget revolutions that have been announced months ago, but do not see constant press. See Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook, Twitter, and other companies that are constantly in the news. The digital wallet is something that may very well take time, but seems more likely than not to happen and shift the way consumers pay for everyday goods and services.
When Apple did not include Near Field Communications (NFC) in its latest iPhone release last week, some saw that as a blow for the industry. Not so fast, it looks like.
We have seen Visa (NYSE:V) unveil its entry into the digital wallet space. It will be a huge boom for consumers, merchants, and chip makers, as the technology will revolutionize how we pay for our everyday purchases.
In the press release from May, Joseph W. Saunders, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Visa said, "The widespread adoption of Internet and mobile technology is changing the way people connect and transact across the globe, so we're focused on delivering locally-tailored payments products and services,” said Saunders. “We are introducing new solutions for eCommerce and mobile devices that provide the same ‘Visa-quality' experience—convenience, reliability and security—people enjoy when using their Visa cards at a retail location. In doing so, we are accelerating the global shift to digital payments by harnessing our brand, products, network and 50-plus years of payments experience.”
As the months come and go, we will see more and more vendors take mobile payments. Many suspect that the iPhone 5 will have some kind of NFC technology, as it appeared that Apple was worried about the widespread usage of it currently. With Visa, MasterCard, Google and other behemoths entering the space, it is merely a matter of when for Apple, not if.
Now when you go to get your morning cup of coffee, paying for it will never be easier, and it may never be more profitable, for both the companies involved, and your portfolio alike.
Traders who believe that the digital wallet revolution will transform the way we purchase goods and services might want to consider the following trades:
- VeriFone Systems Inc., (NYSE:PAY) makes the credit-card readers for cash registers.
- NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) is the leader in near-field communications (NFC) chips. Google and NXP already have a working relationship for NFC chips, so it stands to reason that NXP would likely be part of this venture as well. NXP has been mentioned before as a potential play on NFC.
- Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) also makes NFC chips, and some have suggested that Qualcomm chips will eventually be used in the iPhone, due to the strong relationship between Qualcomm and Apple.
Traders who believe that the digital wallet may never come to fruition may consider alternate positions:
NXPI is essentially becoming a one trick pony at this point. If NFC does not take off and consumers do not accept it, NXPI could be the company most affected by this.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.