What Could Spur Greater Use of Mobile Wallets?

August 31, 2018

Most adults in the US believe that mobile wallets will replace physical ones by 2025, per new research from Synchrony Financial, but data from InfoScout indicates that adoption of mobile wallets remains quite modest. So what could drive more use of mobile wallets? A report from Vibes [download page] asks that very question.

In surveying 1,000 US smartphone owners (unweighted by age or gender), Vibes discovered that the biggest driver to trying mobile wallets would be getting better promotions or offers. Not much has changed, it seems: a few years ago, smartphone users were also saying that finding and redeeming coupons would be their most interesting mobile wallet use case.

But mobile wallets are more than just about deals. Coming in a close second to promotions and offers as a motivator of wallet usage are the organizational benefits provided. In other words, many would be willing to try out a mobile wallet if it would make their life easier by organizing things such as offers/coupons, loyalty cards and airline boarding passes. Considering that the survey separately found strong interest (69%) in saving loyalty cards to a phone, these organizational capabilities could come in useful.

Meanwhile, other benefits – such as enhancing experiences with favorite brands, receiving important informational updates, and getting personalized offers – aren’t quite as strong in terms of motivating mobile wallet usage, per the report.

There is one key detractor above all else, though: security concerns. Fully 59% of respondents said that security concerns are a barrier to using a mobile wallet. This ranked far ahead of other hindrances, including the lack of the payment option at frequented stores (19%) and a lack of knowledge about how to access mobile wallets (12%).

Research has shown that the most common way of purchasing items or services via a mobile phone is by typing credit or debit card details into a mobile website. Trust may have had a role in that result: when asked which processing method they trusted the most when using a credit or debit card, almost twice as many mobile users pointed to typing details into mobile websites as did storing the details in an app.

The full Vibes survey is available for download here.

About the Data: The survey was fielded among 1,000 US smartphone owners, 66% of whom are male, and 48% of whom are ages 18-44.

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