Mobile Commerce

Mobile Payments Awareness High — Usage Remains Low

The advent of multiple mobile payment options has soared awareness among consumers but has done little to increase adoption rates, with fewer than one in five North Americans reporting using them at least once a week, a new Accenture report has found.

The results of the report, which are based on responses from 4,000 smartphone users from the U.S. and Canada, found awareness among users about the ability to use their cellphone as a payment device rose by about 10 percent to reach 52 percent growth since last year. However, the growth of mobile payments was found to have crawled up by just 1 percent.

”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.”

The adoption rates driving growth of mobile payments were found to be highest among high-income consumers (those who have a household income of more than $150,000), followed by the millennial consumer base. Thirty-eight percent of high-income consumers said they make mobile payments weekly, while 23 percent of millennials reported the same.

So, what would it take to finally lift mobile payments usage off the ground? The survey results point towards a demand for discount pricing associated with mobile payments. About 79 percent of users said they would increase their mobile payments usage if they were offered coupons based on past buying behavior. On the other hand, 54 percent of consumers who do not use mobile payments said they would start using them if they were offered discount pricing or coupons.

The survey results, which come on the heels of Apple Pay’s first anniversary, also found Apple Pay as the top mobile payment method, accounting for more than two-thirds, or 68 percent, of mobile transactions in U.S. stores.

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The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.