Mobile payments: awareness is growing but not use


  • TECH
  • Friday, 23 Oct 2015

Slow adoption rates: Just 18% of US consumers are using their phones to make payments.

Over half of North Americans now claim to know all about using their smartphones as a replacement for their physical wallets. 

However, according to the latest data from Accenture, for over 80% of consumers, physical cash and cards are still king. 

The new report, the 2015 North America Consumer Digital Payments Survey, based on a pool of 4,000 respondents, and published exactly a year after Apple Pay's launch, finds that just 18% of smartphone owners in the US and Canada are currently using their handsets to make payments on a weekly basis. 

And though there has been a tiny growth in adoption rates (a 1% increase since 2014), awareness is now at 52%, a 10 percentage-point jump on last year's study. This is a sign that not just Apple, but Samsung's Samsung Pay and Google's Android Pay systems are helping to bring understanding of the technology into the mainstream. 

But, for the moment at least, Apple is in the lead in this nascent industry – 68% of all mobile payments made in the US are conducted via Apple Pay. An impressive figure given that the system is only natively compatible with the four most recent iPhone handsets. 

Millennials leading the wave 

And while fewer than one in five consumers overall are reaching for their phones rather than the chequebook or cards, high-income families and Millennials are already starting to break away from the pack. Accenture says that 38% of respondents from households with a US$150,000+ (RM642,669+) yearly income are huge mobile payment fans. 

What's more, when the data's sifted to exclude everyone but 18-to-34-year-olds, weekly mobile payment use jumps to 23%. 

"Though it's clear that consumers are aware that they can make payments through their phones, continued use of existing payment methods – such as credit cards and cash – and slow retail adoption of modern card readers have caused usage levels to remain stagnant over the last year," said Robert Flynn, managing director for Accenture Payment Services in North America. 

"This is a clear indicator to banks and retailers that although the digital transformation in payments is progressing, there is still a long way to go before we reach broad market adoption." 

Nevertheless, the appetite for and adoption of alternatives to traditional forms of payment is expected to pick up momentum. 

The Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, which also published data this week, forecasts that by 2020, 20% of all payments made at point of sales terminals in US stores will be via mobile device. — AFP Relaxnews

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