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Chase Pay's big search for the elusive consumer element
Chase Pay Village in New York City.
It's well understood that consumers won't flock to a mobile wallet because it's there or because their bank endorses it. To get shoppers using Chase Pay — especially during the holiday shopping season — the bank had to be more ambitious.

Chase Pay in particular has a lot of friction at sign-up — its security mirrors that of JPMorgan Chase's mobile app, meaning consumers must remember their online banking password, agree to multiple End User License Agreements, and set up optional fingerprint authentication.

The whole process can seem futile if, in the end, it's not even clear where the wallet can be used. To address that, Chase has coordinated a group of 20 merchants to set up shop at a highly trafficked transit and shopping hub in New York called the Oculus. In the center of this environment, which the bank calls Chase Pay Village, is a kiosk staffed with people who can help commuters and tourists alike set up the Chase mobile wallet.

"We had a vision of creating a space where our consumers can go and feel very comfortable trying this new form of payment," said Dina DeMerell, head of marketing for Chase Pay. "Mobile payments haven't really taken off yet in the U.S. and we think a big part of it is consumers are afraid to try it at a POS, so with the Oculus we wanted to create this safe place to try it."

The Oculus, which is located among the World Trade Center properties, will host Chase Pay Village until Jan. 7 with an emphasis on holiday wares such as toys, jewelry and chocolates. The merchants also accept standard payment instruments such as credit and debit cards, but each is equipped with a Chase-branded QR code reader.

Part of Chase Pay Village's mission is to determine which of its features — if any — are most compelling to shoppers.

"We are doing quite a bit of consumer research ... gathering intelligence about perceptions of the product because we are still very much in the early stages of rolling out Chase Pay," DeMerell said. "We are doing so much now in marketing, but we are trying to find out the magic of what it will take to get them to use Chase Pay."