Boost Mobile launches Android-based mobile wallet

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LAS VEGAS—Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) prepaid brand Boost Mobile launched an Android-based mobile wallet service powered by Wipit that will let consumers load cash, pay their bills, top-up their account, transfer funds and send money to other countries. In addition, customers will get a reloadable Visa prepaid card that is linked to their mobile wallet account.

In an interview with FierceMobileContent, Kevin McGinnis, vice president of product platforms and services at Sprint, said that the company decided to first launch the Wipit app with Boost customers because they are well-suited for this service. "On the prepaid side, there is a large portion of the Boost Mobile base that is underserved and underbanked," McGinnis said. "These consumers have a unique customer need. They stand in long lines for check cashing and stand in lines to pay their bills and then they are saddled with cash."

The Boost wallet is currently available in three markets—Los Angeles, San Diego and Northern New Jersey—and will roll out nationwide by year-end. Sprint will spend the next few months focused on educating Boost retailers and dealers about the service so they can communicate its value to their customers.

McGinnis added that the company will eventually roll out the service to its Virgin Mobile prepaid branded customers and even its Sprint postpaid customers, but first wants to learn more about usage and work out any potential issues. Wipit is working on an iOS version of the app as well.

Sprint currently supports the Near Field Communications-based Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Wallet payment service. McGinnis said that he believes mobile payments will have a longer growth curve in North America because consumers who are accustomed to using their credit cards in stores do not see a value in switching to their smartphone to pay for things. "One thing we have learned about payments is that there is nothing broken with plastic," he said.  

Instead, McGinnis believes that for mobile payments to really take off, consumers will have to be incented with loyalty programs and reward programs. 

For more:
- see this press release

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