Only 51 percent of U.S. consumers had awareness of digital wallets, according to internet research company comScore.
The study is based on combining comScore's opt-in panel of 1 million U.S. consumers and two separate surveys of more than 2,000 U.S. Internet users conducted in November 2012.
"Digital wallets represent an innovative technology that has not yet reached critical mass among consumers due to a variety of factors, including low awareness and a muddied understanding of their benefits," said Andrea Jacobs, comScore Payments Practice Leader, in a statement.
One clear barrier to use of digital wallets is that the concept is often difficult to convey and prone to misinterpretation, said comScore. Even after being asked to review the websites of particular digital wallets, respondents across all wallet brands still scored an average of just 45 percent in terms of demonstrated level of understanding.
Also, the study found that security remains a top consumer concern, but that a significant portion of consumers are not aware of security features inherent in digital wallet usage. While 93 percent of consumers would prefer to use a digital wallet that has to be unlocked before use, an average of just 57 percent of respondents across the brands studied realized - after having reviewed the digital wallet website - that this locking feature was available, the report found.