Mobile Payments Still Far From Prime Time; 3% Of U.S. Transactions

Plenty of companies continue to push mobile payments but masses of consumers still aren’t yet convinced it’s the best way to pay.

Since it’s easier to pay by smartphone online than in a store, that’s where more of the mobile payment activity currently resides around the world.

There also are some moves to expand mobile payments beyond the smartphone.

For example, Visa is expanding its Visa Ready program so that digital payments can be made by wearables, such as with smartwatches like the Apple Watch.

Payments both in stores and online differ by market, with the U.S. lagging in every area, according to a recent study. For example, of those who made a mobile payment in the last six months, the U.S. is last. Here’s the breakdown of where mobile payments were made online:

  • 55% -- Mideast
  • 54% -- APAC
  • 51% -- Latin America
  • 32% -- Europe
  • 25% -- U.S.

The study is based on 25,000 interviews of adults in various countries conducted by GfK.

In continuing the push for more mobile transactions, at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, PayPal promoted its new PayPal Commerce platform, which allows online merchants to include Buy buttons across third-party apps.

But it’s an uphill climb. The reality is that mobile payments are not yet that big in relation to other payment methods, especially in the U.S. The most common way to pay in the U.S. is by debit card and the least common is with a phone. Here’s the breakdown of the share of payment transactions in the U.S. last year:

  • 38% -- Debit card
  • 29% -- Cash
  • 27% -- Credit card
  • 3% -- Mobile device

One of the big issues with mobile payments is the actual value proposition, such as lack of easy-to-use loyalty points or coupon integration. Since it’s fast and easy to pay with cash or credit card, mobile payments must add something to the mix.

More than a third (37%) of consumers see mobile payments as more of a gimmick than a major part of how they pay, according to GfK.

In the U.S., almost two times more consumers use mobile payments online rather than in a store, with a relatively small number fully confident. While making mobile purchases in stores, consumers in the Mideast also top those in the other regions. This is where shoppers make mobile purchases in stores:

  • 37% -- Mideast
  • 36% -- APAC
  • 33% -- Latin America
  • 15% -- Europe
  • 13% -- U.S.

One of the big concerns in most mobile payments studies is about the security of personal information. The GfK study found that the majority of consumers worry about it. Here are the shopper viewpoints in using mobile payments:

  • 52% -- Worry about personal information when using a mobile payment app
  • 20% -- Confident that mobile device payments are 100% secure
  • 16% -- Making payments with a mobile device is more secure than other methods

But one new study sees mobile payment hope on the horizon.

That forecast says there will be 2 billion people globally using mobile payments in 2019. The Ovum Mobile Payments forecast pegs the mobile transaction value by that time at $693 billion.

The number globally may be reached, but consumers in the U.S. are not likely to lead the way.

Next story loading loading..