You can never have too many digital wallets.
And if most of them link to the same credit cards or bank accounts, so what? For the companies creating such products, from Apple (AAPL) - Get Report Pay to Alphabet's (GOOG) - Get Report Android Pay, Chase Pay and newcomer Wells Fargo Wallet, the important task now is establishing and protecting a niche in the market for a product consumers clearly want.
Banks are unwilling to let tech companies take the lead in an area that has traditionally been their domain, and executives figure there will be time later to figure out how to differentiate the products from each other and which companies and industries are best equipped for the job.
"We know mobile is key to the future of payments," Jim Smith, head of virtual channels at Wells Fargo (WFC) - Get Report , said in a statement last week announcing the San Francisco bank's new product.
The numbers back him up, in multiple ways. Nearly 87% of the U.S. adult population carry a mobile phone, and 43% of users with a bank account made a mobile-banking transaction in the past 12 months, according to a Federal Reservereport in March.
Further, digital banking services are good for customer retention: Research from management consultant Bain & Co. showed visits to a U.S. bank branch are twice as likely to annoy customers as handling transactions on a mobile device.
Wells Fargo's service will be added to the mobile app for Android users later this summer, building on a digital base that CFO John Shrewsberry said grew 6% during the first quarter from a year earlier. The total includes 17.7 million active mobile users, he noted in April.
Despite introducing its own digital wallet, Wells Fargo will still work with payment options such as Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Visa Checkout.
And since consumers often cite security concerns as a barrier to using mobile payment services, Wells Fargo made addressing those concerns a focus with its new product, which was developed in-house. Unauthorized purchases that are promptly reported will be reversed, and customers will have the same risk and fraud-detection systems as on their bank accounts, the company said.
By the end of 2016, more than 40% of its ATMs will be compatible with Wells Fargo Wallet, meaning customers won't have to carry a plastic debit card with them. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) - Get Report , which launched Chase Pay last year, has introduced similar services.
"With mobile ubiquitous in today's world, innovation around mobile will continue to be a key area of focus," Steve Ellis, head of Well Fargo's innovation group, said in the statement.
Wells' digital wallet uses near-field communication, or NFC, similar to Apple Pay, so that the smartphone can interact with the credit card scanner at a merchant or an ATM.
JPMorgan's Chase Pay combines that with a quick-response, or QR, code, which is a barcode read by a scanner. The New York bank's mobile customer base grew 19% during the first quarter.
In the same period, Apple Pay expanded to China and Singapore. To date, more than 10 million "contactless-ready" locations can accept Apple Pay in different countries, including 2.5 million in the U.S. alone.
"Apple Pay is growing at a tremendous rate, with more than five times the transaction volume of a year ago and 1 million new users per week," CEO Tim Cook said on the company's first-quarter call.