Across the country in the last few years, there has been a small but growing number of options for Americans when it comes to making payments using their smartphones. And while many people know about those options these days, it seems that adoption has been quite slow, meaning that there is some sort of impediment between knowledge and use of these platforms on a regular basis.
Today, only about 18 percent of American smartphone users say they actually utilize their devices to make mobile payments at least once per week, according to a new survey from Accenture. This comes at a time when 52 percent of respondents have phones capable of making such a transaction. The latter number was up 10 percent in the last year alone, but once-weekly usage has only increased 1 percent over that same time.
“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.”
Who’s getting on board?
So right now, it seems as though the industry is still only looking at usage among early adopters in particular, the report said. And those most likely to be early adopters generally fall into two groups: The wealthy and young adults. Among those whose households are making at least $150,000 per year, 38 percent are using mobile payment platforms at least once per week. Meanwhile, 23 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 years old fell into the same category. Among all other groups, only about 18 percent of people tended to use these payment options.
What do people want?
However, the survey also highlighted the ways in which consumers could be enticed into broader adoption of mobile payment standards, the report said. The most popular of these – cited by 79 percent of respondents who already use the platforms regularly – said that if they could get discounts based on their previous purchases on that platform, that would go a long way toward getting them to use it more. In addition, 78 percent would like to be able to tie those purchases to their rewards accounts. Those options were supported by 54 percent and 53 percent, respectively, of non-users.
These are certainly things for merchants to consider going forward, as a means of enticing consumers into this more secure type of payment platform. The more that they can do to boost enrollment and regular use of mobile payment devices, the better off both they and their clients or customers are likely to be in the future.