Despite Growing Awareness, Interest in Mobile Payments Remains Stagnant

Security concerns and lack of a compelling “why” top consumers’ adoption barriers. Among current users, satisfaction is highest with mobile banking

05:00 AM EDT Jun 18, 2015 Rating
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Despite Growing Awareness, Interest in Mobile Payments Remains Stagnant

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Mobile transactions are a growing category in a very real sense, with awareness of the various payment opportunities the category offers continuing to rise. What’s more, majorities of Americans indicate that tapping to pay could be useful across a broad gamut of retailers and service providers. However, interest in actually capitalizing on such features – which can include anything from using a smartphone for “tap-to-pay” transactions to utilizing mobile apps to redeem offers to having your payment card swiped through a smartphone or tablet attachment – remains stagnant. What’s more, though majorities of Americans do foresee tap-to-pay transactions eventually displacing cash or cards, few think this prospect is likely to become a reality within the next few years. However, a deeper dive among those Americans who’ve used mobile devices for payments, purchases or other transactions within the past 30 days shows generally high satisfaction rates.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,221 U.S. adults surveyed online between February 11 and 17, 2015 and Nielsen’s Mobile Wallet Study1, a comprehensive online study of 3,606 U.S. mobile shopping, payment and/or banking users aged 18+ (interviewed in October 2014).

Experiences on the rise…

The percentage of both the U.S. general population in total and smartphone users in particular who have either experienced or witnessed various types of mobile transactions continues to rise, with some key points of growth including:

…and perceived usefulness is strong across a variety of points of service…

Also compelling is the majorities of Americans who feel mobile payments would be useful across a broad spectrum of points of service, with no clear “best” fit.

…but interest isn’t keeping pace

Looking more specifically at the tap-to-pay model, while exposure may be on the rise, interest doesn’t follow the same pattern when it comes to using a smartphone to process in-person payments instead of cash or cards. Interest among Americans as a whole, which dropped slightly in 2013 (from 27% in 2012 to 24% in 2013) has rebounded in an equally slight manner (back to 27%). Moreover, among the target market of smartphone users, interest – which fell from 44% in 2012 to 37% in 2013 – remains stagnant, still at 37% today.

Among those not interested, security concerns and a simple lack of compelling motivation are currently the top impediments to adoption.

What’s ahead for tap-to pay? Well, how far ahead are we talking?

Majorities of Americans anticipate tap-to-pay smartphone payments eventually replacing payment card (63%) and cash (57%) transactions (71% and 62%, respectively, among smartphone users) in the future – but not necessarily in the near future. Three in ten Americans (30%; 36% among smartphone users) believe such transactions will replace normal payment cards within the next five years, and one-fourth (26%; 30% among smartphone users) believe it will replace cash transactions in that timeframe.

However, growing percentages of both U.S. adults (43% vs. 41% in 2013 and 39% in 2012) in general and smartphone users specifically (38% vs. 34% and 30%, respectively) don’t believe that tap-to-pay transactions will ever replace cold, hard cash.

What are adopters saying?

Data from Nielsen’s Mobile Wallet Study1, a comprehensive online study of 3,606 U.S. mobile shopping, payment and/or banking users aged 18+ (interviewed in October 2014), indicates that getting consumers to try these features out may be the biggest hurdle, as satisfaction is generally strong among adopters – though to varying degrees, depending on the service and the specific provider.

Mobile banking users rate applications available for this area highly, with more than eight in ten extremely or very satisfied; ease of use, availability of services, and reliability ratings are also strong. Nearly as many mobile shoppers (more than seven in ten) are similarly satisfied with their last mobile purchase experience.

Satisfaction is more disparate for mobile payment terminals, with the percentage of users extremely or very satisfied with the various terminals currently available ranging from less than half to roughly seven in ten.

 

TABLE 1a

EXPERIENCE WITH MOBILE TRANSACTION TYPES

[Summary Table]

“Please select the statement which best describes your experience with each of the following types of transactions.”

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Done this myself / Seen it done firsthand [NET]

I have done this myself

I have not done this, but I have seen it done firsthand

I have not done or witnessed this, but I am aware that it is possible

I was unaware that this is possible

%

%

%

%

%

Paying for a product or service with a credit card and having your card swiped through an attachment on the seller’s smartphone

36

21

15

48

15

Using a mobile app that allows you to redeem offers at a retailer or restaurant like you would use a coupon

39

24

15

49

12

Using a mobile scan as an airline, train, mass transit or other transportation ticket

29

14

15

48

23

Using a mobile app like a gift card to make purchases at a retailer, restaurant or other merchant

28

15

13

54

18

Using a mobile scan as an admission ticket to movies, concerts or live theater performances

25

12

13

54

21

Processing a payment by tapping your smartphone against a special receiver at a store or other merchant, instead of using cash or a payment card

20

8

12

62

17

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 


 TABLE 1b

EXPERIENCE WITH MOBILE TRANSACTION TYPES

[Summary Table Among Smartphone Users]

 “Please select the statement which best describes your experience with each of the following types of transactions.”

Base: Smartphone Users

 

Done this myself / Seen it done firsthand [NET]

I have done this myself

I have not done this, but I have seen it done firsthand

I have not done or witnessed this, but I am aware that it is possible

I was unaware that this is possible

%

%

%

%

%

Paying for a product or service with a credit card and having your card swiped through an attachment on the seller’s smartphone

46

28

18

44

9

Using a mobile app that allows you to redeem offers at a retailer or restaurant like you would use a coupon

49

34

15

44

7

Using a mobile scan as an airline, train, mass transit or other transportation ticket

37

20

18

46

17

Using a mobile app like a gift card to make purchases at a retailer, restaurant or other merchant

36

21

16

50

14

Using a mobile scan as an admission ticket to movies, concerts or live theater performances

33

16

17

52

15

Processing a payment by tapping your smartphone against a special receiver at a store or other merchant, instead of using cash or a payment card

26

11

15

62

12

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 


TABLE 1c

EXPERIENCE WITH MOBILE TRANSACTION TYPES

“Done this myself / Seen it done firsthand” (NET) Summary - Trended

“Please select the statement which best describes your experience with each of the following types of transactions.”

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Among Total Americans

Among Smartphone Owners

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

%

%

%

%

%

%

Paying for a product or service with a credit card and having your card swiped through an attachment on the seller’s smartphone

25

32

36

35

43

46

Using a mobile app that allows you to redeem offers at a retailer or restaurant like you would use a coupon

26

30

39

40

46

49

Using a mobile scan as an airline, train, mass transit or other transportation ticket

17

20

29

26

30

37

Using a mobile app like a gift card to make purchases at a retailer, restaurant or other merchant

16

20

28

22

29

36

Using a mobile scan as an admission ticket to movies, concerts or live theater performances

15

19

25

23

29

33

Processing a payment by tapping your smartphone against a special receiver at a store or other merchant, instead of using cash or a payment card

13

17

20

18

23

26

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding


 

TABLE 2

EXPECTED TIME WHEN SMARTPHONE PAYMENTS WILL REPLACE CARDS/CASH FOR MAJORITY OF PURCHASES

 “Thinking ahead, please say when, if ever, you think smartphone payments will replace [INSERT] transactions for a majority of purchases?”

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Total

Smartphone Users

Nov

2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

%

%

%

%

%

%

PAYMENT CARD TRANSACTIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVER [NET]

66

64

63

76

72

71

          In less than 5 years [sub-NET]

32

29

30

38

33

36

                    Within the next year

2

2

2

2

2

3

                    1 year to less than 3 years

12

9

10

14

11

12

                    3 years to less than 5 years

19

18

18

21

21

20

          5 years to less than 10 years

19

18

19

21

20

22

          10 years or more

15

17

14

17

19

14

Never

34

36

37

24

28

29

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CASH TRANSACTIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVER [NET]

61

59

57

70

66

62

          In less than 5 years [sub-NET]

26

26

26

31

29

30

                    Within the next year

2

2

2

2

3

3

                    1 year to less than 3 years

9

9

9

12

10

10

                    3 years to less than 5 years

16

14

15

18

16

17

          5 years to less than 10 years

18

17

17

21

19

19

          10 years or more

17

16

13

18

18

14

Never

39

41

43

30

34

38

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 


 

TABLE 3

INTEREST IN USING SMARTPHONE FOR TAP-TO-PAY

by Smartphone Users, Generation

 “How interested are you in being able to use your smartphone to process in-person payments via tapping a special receiver, rather than using cash or payment cards?”

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Total

Smartphone Users

Generation

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

Millennials

(18-37)

Gen Xers

(38-49)

Baby Boomers

(50-68)

Matures

(69+)

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

“Very” or “Somewhat” Interested [NET]

27

24

27

44

37

37

39

33

19

7

          Very interested in using my smartphone instead of cash or cards

8

8

9

16

13

13

15

12

6

1

          Somewhat interested in using my smartphone instead of cash or cards

19

16

18

28

24

24

25

22

13

6

“Not very” or “Not at all” Interested [NET]

56

59

58

47

55

53

49

55

65

67

          Not very interested in using my smartphone instead of cash or cards

12

13

14

16

19

18

20

13

12

5

          Not at all interested in using my smartphone instead of cash or cards

43

45

44

30

36

35

30

42

53

62

Not at all sure

17

18

15

9

9

9

11

12

16

26

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 


 

TABLE 4

REASON FOR LACK OF INTEREST IN USING A SMARTPHONE TO PROCESS PAYMENTS

 “Why aren’t you interested in using a smartphone to process payments instead of cash or cards?”

Base: U.S. Adults “Not very” or “Not at all” interested in using a smartphone to process in-person transactions

 

Total

Smartphone Users

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

%

%

%

%

%

%

Don’t want to store sensitive information on my phone

51

53

56

68

62

64

Don’t see any reason to switch from cash or payment cards

52

53

54

62

58

60

Don’t want to transmit sensitive information to the merchant’s device

40

47

46

51

55

52

Don’t use a smartphone

50

38

31

NA

NA

NA

Worried that my smartphone might lose data service / connection (out of range, underground, etc.) and leave me unable to pay

25

27

27

32

36

35

Worried that my smartphone’s battery will run out and leave me unable to pay

15

18

18

22

27

25

Don’t know where I can use it

7

9

8

9

11

9

Don’t understand how to use it

8

9

8

8

8

8

Something else

7

8

9

6

8

9

Note: Multiple responses allowed.

NA=Not Applicable

TABLE 5

IMPACT OF CC REWARDS PROGRAMS ON INTEREST IN USING SMARTPHONE TO MAKE IN-PERSON PAYMENTS

 “If you could use this type of ‘mobile payments’ while still taking advantage of your existing credit card rewards programs, how would this affect your interest in using your smartphone to make in-person payments?”

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Total

Smartphone Users

Not interested (NET) in using smartphone to make in-person payments

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

“Much more” or “Somewhat more” Interested [NET]

28

24

24

40

34

32

8

9

9

          Much more interested

9

8

9

15

12

13

1

1

2

          Somewhat more interested

18

16

14

25

22

19

7

8

6

No impact

43

44

48

46

49

51

60

56

60

“Somewhat less” or “Much less” Interested [NET]

9

10

11

8

10

10

14

14

15

          Somewhat less interested

3

2

3

3

3

3

4

3

3

          Much less interested

6

7

7

5

7

7

10

11

12

Not applicable

20

23

18

6

7

7

18

20

16

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 6

IMPACT OF “DIGITAL WALLET” ON INTEREST IN USING SMARTPHONE TO MAKE IN-PERSON PAYMENTS

 “If you could also use your smartphone as a ‘digital wallet’ with electronic versions of your driver’s license, health insurance cards, loyalty program identification, and anything else you might normally carry in your wallet – thus allowing you to leave your physical wallet at home - how would this affect your interest in using your smartphone to make in-person payments?”

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Total

Smartphone Users

Not interested (NET) in using smartphone to make in-person payments

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

Nov 2012

Sept 2013

Feb 2015

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

“Much more” or “Somewhat more” Interested [NET]

30

26

26

43

36

33

12

12

12

          Much more interested

8

8

7

12

12

9

2

2

1

          Somewhat more interested

22

19

19

31

25

24

10

10

10

No impact

46

48

49

37

41

45

55

54

56

“Somewhat less” or “Much less” Interested [NET]

24

26

25

20

23

22

33

34

32

          Somewhat less interested

6

7

6

7

10

6

8

9

6

          Much less interested

18

19

19

14

13

16

25

25

26

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 7a

PERCEIVED USEFULNESS OF SMARTPHONE PAYMENTS AT VARIOUS POINTS OF PURCHASE

[Summary Table]

“Considering the following types of locations, please indicate how useful – if at all – it would be if you could use ‘mobile payments’ (in place of cash or a debit/credit card) at each. Even if you don’t have a smartphone or the ability to make mobile payments currently, please tell us how useful, if at all, you think it would be.”

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Extremely/ Somewhat useful [NET]

Extremely useful

Somewhat useful

Not very/Not at all useful [NET]

Not very useful

Not at all useful

Not at all sure

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Public transit

61

31

30

26

7

19

13

Movie theater

59

24

36

29

9

19

12

“Big box” retailer (e.g., WalMart, Target)

59

23

36

29

10

19

12

Gas station/Convenience store

59

26

33

29

9

20

12

Counter service restaurant (fast food/fast casual)

58

23

35

30

10

20

12

Taxi/car service

58

27

31

28

8

19

14

Sports arena

55

22

33

30

10

21

15

Local, individual retail store/small chain

55

18

37

33

12

21

12

Table service restaurant (i.e., served by a waiter or waitress)

54

20

34

34

13

21

12

Bar

49

18

31

36

12

24

15

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 


TABLE 7b

PERCEIVED USEFULNESS OF SMARTPHONE PAYMENTS AT VARIOUS POINTS OF PURCHASE

 “Extremely/Somewhat Useful” (NET) Summary - Trended

“Considering the following types of locations, please indicate how useful – if at all – it would be if you could use ‘mobile payments’ (in place of cash or a debit/credit card) at each. Even if you don’t have a smartphone or the ability to make mobile payments currently, please tell us how useful, if at all, you think it would be.”

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Total

Smartphone Users

Generation

Millennials

(18-37)

Gen Xers

(38-49)

Baby Boomers

(50-68)

Matures

(69+)

%

%

%

%

%

%

Public transit

61

68

72

65

54

47

Movie theater

59

68

69

63

54

45

“Big box” retailer (e.g., WalMart, Target)

59

65

65

63

54

49

Gas station/Convenience store

59

65

65

61

54

51

Counter service restaurant (fast food/fast casual)

58

66

66

62

53

46

Taxi/car service

58

66

68

62

51

47

Sports arena

55

61

60

61

51

41

Local, individual retail store/small chain

55

62

59

58

53

44

Table service restaurant (i.e., served by a waiter or waitress)

54

61

57

58

52

42

Bar

49

56

58

53

43

33

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between February 11 and 17, 2015 among 2,221 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

 

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

                                                           

1The insights from Nielsen’s Mobile Wallet Report were gathered from general population sample 18+ years and older and consisted of 3,606 respondents who have used their smartphone or tablet for mobile shopping, paying or banking in the past 30 days. The respondents completed an online, self-administered survey in October 2014. The survey was conducted in English, and included respondents from key multicultural segments, including U.S. Hispanic, Asian-American and African-American markets. For more information about Nielsen’s Mobile Wallet Report, call (800) 234-5973.

 

The Harris Poll® #34, June 18, 2015

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll

 

 

About The Harris Poll®

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. 

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