Charge It To My Phone

According to a new report from business consulting firm Bain & Co., mobile payment users, on average, spend approximately twice as much through all digital channels than those not using mobile payments. The recent survey of approximately 25,000 consumers in the US and major Western European markets found that many are already shopping on their mobiles, some are using them for payments and many more expect to do so over the next few years.

Consumer Awareness And Use Of Mobile Payments

The Market

% of Respondents

US Users


US non users, but willing to try


US non users, not willing to try


Source: Bain and Company, March 2014

In-store mobile payments are relatively small today, with only 3% to 7% of consumers using their phones to buy coffee, books or other physical goods in stores. But that number is growing: nearly twice as many consumers started using mobile payments in 2013 as they did in 2012. Another 16% to 27%, depending on the country, say they are willing to try.

Mobile Payment Awareness (Almost 7% in store purchasers)


% of Respondents

US consumers already know about mobile payments


Not aware


Source: Bain and Company, March 2014

Notwithstanding this small but significant show of enthusiasm, says the report, payment habits remain difficult to change. Most consumers believe the way they pay for things today is good enough, although they admit to minor annoyances like the many receipts they are left with or the number of steps involved in a card purchase.

For about a quarter of consumers who said they would consider using their mobiles for purchases, the novelty is reason enough to try it.

  • Another segment (13%) is attracted by financial rewards such as discounts, location-based coupons and better loyalty offers. Many in this group are willing to trade their personal data in exchange for better, more relevant offers.
  • The largest segment, representing about two-thirds of consumers, want more convenience from mobile payments, whether it’s a faster checkout, the ability to see a balance or other benefits.
  • Some of the most forward-thinking applications integrate customers’ payment activities with money management and budgeting software, to allow real-time financial management without entering details from receipts.

Real structural barriers remain in some markets, says the report, and these will continue to slow adoption rates. In the US, payment systems and technologies remain fragmented, and any US mobile payment solution is likely to be built on top of the existing credit card networks. The US lags behind other markets in upgrading its point-of-sale terminals to allow them to accept advanced payment technologies, including credit cards with contactless chips or near-field communications (NFC).

Despite these barriers, there will be significant advantage for companies that act now to shape their approach, as mobile payments move toward the mainstream over the next three years, opines the report. Mobile payment users tend to be younger and more affluent than the average consumer. They spend more than twice as much through digital channels and tend to shop more often.

Early indicators suggest that consumers view and use mobile payments as an extension of credit or debit cards, rather than as a substitute for cash. Since mobile payment systems are likely to depend on the bankcard system in many markets, card providers may want to prepare for some payment to shift from plastic to mobile and should view this as just another way their customers use their payment networks.

Payment Method of Total In-store Spending Per Month (Approximate Percentage)

Payment Method

% of Consumers



Debit cart


Credit card




Source: Bain and Company, March 2014

For retailers, mobile payments will become a critical part of future strategy, concludes the report. Many are already planning for mobile technology in their future stores. They expect mobile payments to increase customer loyalty by helping to support an omni-channel unified shopping experience in the store and across digital and mobile channels. Mobile payments should also help them acquire new customers with more targeted and relevant offers based on better data collected from mobile payments.

For more information from Bain and Company, please visit here.


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