How Consumers View The Mobile Payments Timeline

What's Next In Payments®
4:56 PM EST December 12th, 2012

The good news? Two-third of Americans believe mobile payments will eventually replace plastic payments, and 61 percent see it overtaking cash as well.

The bad news? Nearly 40 percent think it will take between three and 10 years to get there, and 15 believe we’re looking at another decade-plus before mobile is the go-to way to pay.

Those statistics are courtesy of a Harris Interactive study, which polled 2,383 Americans on the present and future of mobile payments. The long and short of the study? People think mobile payments will take over some day, but they see little reason to make the switch now. We take a look at some of the most interesting findings in this Data Point.

Where We Stand Now

The study found that only 4 percent of Americans have ever paid for a purchase via a smartphone, and a mere 8 percent have even seen a purchase be made through the medium. When responses were limited to those who own smartphones, the numbers increase only to 7 percent who have made purchases and 11 who have witnessed them. Twenty-seven percent of Americans and 44 percent of smartphone owners said they were interested inbeing able to make mobile payments, and those numbers decrease to 8 and 16 percent, respectively, for those who are “very interested.”

Where We Think We’ll Stand Later

While two-thirds of respondents may think mobile will replace cards only 2 percent believe it will happen within the next year. Twelve percent wagered it would take one-to-three years, while 19 percent thought it would take three-to-five years. Another 19 percent opted for five-to-10 years, while 15 percent predicted it will take a decade or more before mobile payments truly takes over.

Why We Think It Will Take So Long

Among participants who said they were not very or not at all interested in paying via smartphone, 51 percent cited an unwillingness to store sensitive information on their phone as a reason. Another 40 percent did not want to transmit that information to a merchant’s device. Fifty-two percent said they don’t see a reason why the switch from plastic to mobile is necessary right now as well.

To read more stats from the Harris Interactive study, read this Mobile Commerce Daily piece.

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