PayPal To Wallets: No One Likes You

What's Next In Payments®
1:21 PM EDT May 22nd, 2013

PayPal reiterated its goal to be available in two million retail stores this year yesterday, as it continues to try and redefine how people pay in-store, online and via mobile. A self-titled “digital wallet” – they don’t take well to being called a mobile wallet – PayPal’s goal is to be the vehicle through which people pay no matter where they are.

For that to happen, people will need to largely ditch the physical wallets they carry with them on a daily basis. Such accessories are filled with cards, cash and coupons, and those are means of payment PayPal generally doesn’t want you using when you transact.

To illustrate – and perhaps reinforce – that people are ready for a wallet-less future, PayPal released a global study earlier this week on consumers’ feelings on wallets. The results paint a clear picture, as 83 percent of the 5,000 respondents from the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and Germany are ready to move on to better payments platforms.

“The results are in and strengthen the notion that carrying around your financial information, credit cards, and cash in a wallet is simply just a pain,” said David Marucs, PayPal’s president, in a separate blog post. “At PayPal, we want to remove friction from the financial equation.”

We dive into the study’s findings in this Data Point.

Wishing Away Wallets

According to the PayPal survey, 86 percent of Americans indicated they wish they could go out without a physical wallet, while the other four nations surveyed shared similar sentiments. Germans felt the greatest urge to leave their wallets at home at 90 percent, while Canadians came in next at 87 percent. Eighty-six percent of those in Australia said they don’t want wallets, while Brits were the most wallet-tolerant with 76 percent wanting to ditch.

That being said, those in the UK led the pack in terms of choosing a smartphone over a wallet, as 32 percent would opt for the phone if they were only allowed to leave home with one item.

Where Wallets Aren’t Welcome

The study also revealed some anecdotal data that finds the middle ground between useful and entertaining, asking people for the destinations where they would most like to leave their wallets behind. In every country surveyed, the beach rang in as the place most people want to go wallet-less. As Marcus noted in his reaction to the study, for the people of Canada and Germany, this is a bit odd.

Unsurprisingly the gym came in as the second-most cited location, while other common answers included the Laundromat, grocery store and restaurants. Canadians were most likely to want to leave their wallets behind when headed to bars (a feeling many are familiar with) and Germans and Americans placed increase emphasis on concerts and sporting events. Americans also cited parking meters as place for which they’d like to have no need for a wallet.

Sharing Shortcomings And Counting Change

PayPal asked respondents about some of the frustrations they face with traditional payments methods today, and the answers tie in nicely to a future filled with digital wallets. Respondents indicated that they were often “stiffed” by someone – usually a friend – when going out to eat, as only one person would pick up the bill. Australians indicated they were most likely to suffer this fate while out eating, while those in the UK were most likely to suffer while at a bar. Overall, those ages 25 and under are most likely to stiff their peers, according to the survey.

Keeping track of loose change is another problem area cited by Americans, Brits and Germans. Those in the U.S. are the most likely to lose their change, while those in Germany are most likely to carry change and least likely to lose it. Respondents from Canada and Australia had less at stake here, as the two companies have ceased production of their one-cent coins.

While the study doesn’t make many direct allusions to how PayPal can help mitigate these frustrations, the reason such findings are being made public by the company is pretty self-evident.

To view the full PayPal report, click here. And for a simple overview of some of the stats explored above, catch a glimpse of the infographic below.

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