Mobile payments are gaining traction in the US but are still only a qualified success, suggests a survey by Auriemma Consulting Group.
The number of alternatives for consumers has grown since Apple Pay’s debut in October 2014. Android Pay and Samsung Pay have followed with competition in the pipeline from the likes of Walmart and Chase.
The research firm’s Marianne Berry raises the worthwhile question: is anyone using them? The answer, she says, is a qualified yes.
About seven per cent of all smartphone users said they have at least tried using their devices for payment. But, as Berry points out, less than half of all smartphones in the US are capable of this type of transaction.
Older Apple devices, for instance, do not include NFC, and Android Pay works with KitKat 4.4 and above, so ruling out some models.
Among those with an eligible phone, 27 per cent said they have used Apple, Android, or Samsung Pay, although the survey does not spell out if this is occasional or regular usage.
Mobile payment users still put the lion’s share of their purchases on old-fashioned plastic, since stores that accept mobile payments are still relatively hard to track down in the US. Of those surveyed, 39 per cent said they would use mobile payments more if more stores/apps accepted it.
However, 61 per cent said their devices are supplanting their cash usage, suggesting that the phones are being used for smaller value purchases. This is confirmed by another finding – one-third of those who have used mobile payment in the past week made a purchase of $25 or less.
These transactions are made both online and offline, except for Samsung Pay, which has yet to offer in-app payments. On average, users report that 17 per cent of their discretionary spending was done via mobile payment.
However, using a smartphone for purchases is not yet ingrained in consumer consciousness. Only one third (31 per cent) of respondents paid using their devices every time, even when they knew it was accepted The explanation? Quite simply, they forgot.
“Reaching for the phone instead of the wallet isn’t an automatic reflex, even for mobile pay enthusiasts,” said Berry. “And even if they do remember, many will give up and use their plastic cards if they encounter friction at the point of sale, particularly if there are other shoppers in line behind them,” she added.