The arrival of mobile payments will be less of a revolution and more of an evolution, judging by a new consumer survey by the Harris Poll that found awareness is growing fast – but interest in actually using the new capabilities lags far behind.
Harris conducted an online survey of 2,221 U.S. adults in February and found that the proportion who had either used a mobile payment system or seen someone else do so rose from 32% in 2013 to 36% in 2015. Among smartphone users, this group increased from 43% to 46%. Meanwhile, 62% thought mobile payments would be useful for retail, while 61% thought mobile payments could be useful for mass transit, sports arenas, and restaurants.
There’s also a general sense that mobile payments are indeed the wave of the future, although at some undefined point: 63% of those polled say they believe smartphone payments will replace credit cards, and 57% believe they will replace cash.
However, consumer notice of this trend still seems mostly abstract, as the proportion of respondents who said they were personally interested in using mobile payments instead of cash or credit cards edged up from 24% in 2013 to 27% in 2015 -- not exactly setting the world on fire. Among smartphone users, the proportion remained unchanged at 37%, which is actually down slightly from 44% in 2012.
Asked why they were indifferent, 56% of those cited security concerns — for example, not wanting to store sensitive information on their phone — while 52% don’t want to transmit this information to a merchant’s device. However 54% said they just don’t see any reason to adopt mobile payments. I believe the technical term among pollsters for such apathy is “meh.”