Trading the digital wallet revolution

The digital wallet is here, and some stocks may benefit from it.

By Benzinga Oct 11, 2011 4:52PM

Tuesday morning brought an announcement from a $750 million company that could potentially continue a revolution worth billions of dollars.


Peet's Coffee & Tea (PEET) announced it will start to accept payments with cards that work with the Google (GOOG) Wallet and MasterCard (MA) PayPass systems. The payments will start to be accepted by the end of the month.


MasterCard has been especially bullish on the mobile wallet, and mentioned it in its earnings release in August. Ajay Banga, MasterCard's president and chief executive officer, made sure to talk about its importance. 


"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.," Banga said. 


The digital wallet revolution is upon us, and has seen an increase in 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 the revolutions that were announced months ago, but did not see constant press. See Apple (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.


Some saw a blow for the industry when Apple did not include Near Field Communications (NFC) in its latest iPhone release last week. Not so fast, it looks like. We have seen Visa (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 a May statement, Visa chief executive Joseph Saunders 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."


He added that the company is introducing new solutions for e-commerce 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."


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.


ACTION ITEMS:

Bullish:
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 (PAY) makes the credit-card readers for cash registers.
  • NXP Semiconductors (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 (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.

Bearish:
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. 

This content does not constitute investment advice; we do not recommend that you buy, sell, or hold any security.


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