On Wednesday, 7-Eleven, the largest chain of convenience stores in the U.S., launched its new mobile wallet. Customers can access the mobile wallet within the 7-Eleven app and use it for purchases within the chain’s U.S. stores, as well as 7-Eleven branded gas stations.
The wallet works by scanning barcodes directly through the phone. Customers can load their wallet by using credit, debit, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and 7-Eleven gift cards. They’ll also be able to fund their accounts with cash at the register.
“Cash customers want to participate in the growing digital payment ecosystem. 7‑Eleven Wallet gives them access to touchless payment along with deep value loyalty offers," said president & CEO, Joe DePinto.
There are perks that come with the 7‑Eleven Wallet. Customers loading their wallet for the first time with $20 or more get 2,000 reward points. They also get 2 points for almost every dollar they spend. They can then use these points to shop at 7-Eleven. There are other perks, too, like special deals and free merchandise.
The wallet’s release comes as an answer to consumers’ growing demand for contactless forms of payment.
The popularity of mobile wallets and other digital forms of payment was already spreading before the pandemic. Now, the trend is accelerating. And this could be because of the greater importance being put on contactless pay. 57% of consumers said that stores’ mobile payment offerings would affect their willingness to buy there, according to a September survey by PYMNTS and PayPal.
There are over 9,000 7-Eleven stores in the U.S. alone, and over 70,000 globally. A mobile wallet, with all its store-specific perks, could help the chain further serve its clientele and expand its activity in financial services.
People may also be more inclined to shop at a 7-Eleven, as opposed to another store, if they get special benefits by doing so.
“Society is moving to cashless much faster due to the pandemic, so people are more open to mobile wallets. They especially like those that offer special perks,” said Arcady Lapiro, CEO and founder of Agora Services, a platform for digital banking solutions.
Lapiro cites Chipotle as an example. Just before the pandemic, the fast food chain had 8 million people active in its reward program. This month, the number climbed up to 17 million. Starbucks has a similar story: In Q4, the coffee house chain had 19.3 million 90-day active members -- 10% more compared to last year.
With the option 7-Eleven provides to load wallets with cash, the chain could especially appeal to unbanked and underbanked people.
“The underbanked are the most affected by Covid as they are outside of the banking system when a lot of retailers are pushing for contactless payments. Underbanked will be the main target for digital wallet use due to the easy onboarding, free services and attractive perks.” said Lapiro.
7-Eleven might use the mobile wallet as an opportunity to launch more financial products for its customers.
“The long term effect is that certain chains will eventually move to a phase 2 with a Buy Now, Pay Later product and, for the larger chains, eventually adding in banking services,” said Lapiro.