Disney Adds Messaging Service for Kids with Games (and Payments?)

  • Philip Ryan
  • August 8, 2016
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 Credit / Attribution - Print © Can Stock Photo Inc. / ikophotosWhat do you call the generation that comes after millennials?

For now they’re just kids, but soon they’ll be a powerful force in the world of commerce. (Today’s parents may tell you they already are.)

Disney is reaching out to this group with a new messaging app called Mix that includes the usual messaging paraphernalia such as emojis and the ability to upload media. Mix was announced last week. It also contains extensive parental controls and safety features, as one might imagine for an app that specifically targets kids. And it includes games tied to Disney media.

But does it include payments?

That’s not clear. The games seem to be free for now, but we’ve reached out to Disney and will update this post when we hear back. What is clear is that Disney is a major innovator in payments, and has made the process of paying for goods and services in its parks with the MagicBand, a wristband that authenticates users, as well as hold tickets and payment information. (It also helps locate lost children: Unattended kids can have their bands scanned by park employees to provide their identities. No word on whether misplacing a child incurs a fee.)

Messaging apps are at the forefront of payments innovation, and are well on their way to including more complex  banking services as well, from customer service and expert advice to transactions beyond P2P money transfers. Disney will use the Mix service to help cement brand loyalty, and it doesn’t seem like a stretch to see it including in-app payments and the like, and to intelligently include parent approval functionality.

After all, they figured out how to make the MagicBand work like magic. Digital payments should be no problem — and your card is probably still on file.

Something for parents to think about the next time their assets are “Frozen.”

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism. He can be reached at pryan@royalmedia.com.

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