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Report: Minding The Mobile Card Services Interest Vs Usage Gap

Smartphones deliver alerts on everything from when a storm is coming to when a favorite actor is in the news. They can also let consumers know something arguably more important: when a purchase posts to their credit cards or cards they share with partners or dependents. In other words, these instant alerts can offer a valuable real-time defense against fraud.

This is just one the many useful functions of Mobile Card Services (MCS) — the Swiss Army knife of card management. MCS allows users to turn their cards on and off, set spending limits, restrict usage based on purchase location and receive alerts when cards are used, among other things.

PYMNTS, in collaboration with Ondot, analyzed a range of MCS features that have the potential to help consumers gain greater control over their credit and debit card payments, both for themselves and for others they may entrust with cards. In the Mobile Card Services Playbook: Driving MCS Usage Edition, PYMNTS surveyed 9,500 U.S. consumers to further examine what tools are particularly compelling to consumers, based on factors such as age, income and whether they support dependents.

Two dominant findings emerge from our research. For one, use and knowledge of MCS are currently quite limited: 50.5 percent of all respondents report that they have never heard of the services. At the same time, when consumers are informed about MCS capabilities, they tend to be very intrigued, especially those who are inclined to share accounts with dependents and partners.

According to our research, consumers who would use MCS on children’s accounts are “very” or “extremely” interested in an average of 5.5 controls, while those who would only use it with primary accounts are interested in four. Of particular interest is the ability to receive alerts when a shared card is used: 79.6 percent of respondents inclined to try MCS are “very” or “extremely” interested in this, making it among its most popular use case.

Our research suggests that MCS primarily appeals to consumers because of its potential to reduce the risk of fraud and improve their money management. These are the most commonly-cited motives for wanting to use a range of MCS tools. For example, 24.5 percent of MCS-interested respondents believe merchant-based spending limits would help them improve their money management, while 29.4 percent view reducing fraud risk as a key reason for using “on/off” controls on a card.

To learn more about the various ways MCS appeals to a range of consumers and the use cases that could help close the gap between its potential and current use, download the report.


The Mobile Card Services Playbook, a PYMNTS collaboration with Ondot, explores how consumers use mobile card services (MCS) to personalize their card payments experiences. We examined survey response data from 9,513 American card users to discover how consumers are incorporating MCS-liked cards into their lives. The Driving MCS Usage Edition examines what MCS tools are particularly compelling to consumers, based on such factors as age, income and whether they support dependents.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.