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Digital Wallets: High Awareness, Low Adoption

While an overwhelming majority of consumers are aware of mobile wallets, few use them for everyday transactions, a new survey finds.

Nearly 80% of consumers are aware of digital wallet products as an alternative to cash and card-based payments, but many of those are not yet willing to adopt the new payment technology. That was a major finding from a recent digital wallet usage survey conducted by Thrive Analytics, a search and digital marketing firm that surveyed more than 2,000 US smartphone, tablet, and desktop users in June 2014.

The study found that while an overwhelming number of consumers know of various mobile wallet products -- such as those from PayPal, Google Wallet, and Apple Passbook -- fewer than one third of these individuals actually use them. The main reason cited for the low level of adoption was security, with consumers still not being convinced that these payment methods are any safer than traditional ones. This was followed by lack of usability versus credit cards or cash and not being top of mind as a form of payment at the time of purchase as reasons for lack of adoption.

The study also found that consumers are carrying less cash today than ever before, with 50% of all consumers carrying less than $20 on a regular basis. Of the survey respondents who carry no cash at all, three out of four are under the age of 40. Also, nearly 60% of all digital wallet users are male, despite the fact that they typically carry more cash than females.

Females tend to use merchant digital wallet apps such as Target, Macy’s, and Home Depot more often than males to look for discounts and coupons and to price-shop. When males use merchant apps, they tend to browse and engage in service-related activities like paying bills and looking up retailers’ product and contact information.

For consumers who do use digital wallet products, the most popular ones are PayPal (79%), Google Wallet (40%), and Apple Passbook (17%), with Google Wallet leading the large-transaction pack with purchases of $30 or more (35%), the survey found.

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
7/31/2014 | 11:50:51 AM
Re: Still not adopting
I just recently found out what Passbook is for since I hadn't paid much attention to it either. It's a cool concept but not hugely different from anything else on the market, and I'm happy sticking with my physical cards for now. Though I wouldn't put it past Apple's marketing team to eventually persuade me to give it a shot. 
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
7/30/2014 | 10:14:08 PM
Re: Still not adopting
True. Apple's marketing is a step above everyone else (even if their passbook isn't all that great).

 
Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
7/30/2014 | 8:40:48 PM
Re: Still not adopting
That's marketing at its finest. They know us better than we know ourselves...
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
7/30/2014 | 7:52:58 PM
Re: Is Apple's Passbook really a wallet?
Apple's Passbook was the first app to go into a "Misc" folder on my iPhone. To be honest I had no idea what it did then, and from what I've just read, I'm still not wowed. Some heavy marketing, trust building, and widespread adoption will be necessary for me to dig it out.
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
7/30/2014 | 7:49:40 PM
Still not adopting
I was called by my card's fraud detection services today, apparently it was used to buy gas at a Shell station in Florida (where I haven't been in years). It's been cancelled and I must wait a few days for a replacement. TRAGEDY. Yes, now would be a great time for me to consider convenient alternatives like a digital wallet, but you know what? I'm not. I'll just sit on my thumbs buying nothing until it comes in, and I probably won't make a trip to the ATM either because I dislike carrying cash. I'm a bit perturbed by how well this survey pegged me :-/
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
7/30/2014 | 7:45:57 PM
Re: Cards are still easier
1 Credit card, 1 debit card, 1 photo ID, metrocard, then I'm out the door. Yes, sometimes I feel unprepared without cash, but I'm loathe to go banks to get it. It's actually amazing how long you can go in this city without ever carrying cash on you, especially with the rise of payment sharing apps like Square Cash. Frankly, the only time I end up carrying it on me is when someone gives it to cover part of their dinner bill.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
7/25/2014 | 1:26:34 PM
Re: Cards are still easier
Good point. Sometimes I feel underprepared just carrying a card, in case I end up in one of those pesky cash-only places. Even if mobile wallets become popular, I'll probably continue carrying my actual wallet as a backup. 
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
7/25/2014 | 8:28:11 AM
Cards are still easier
Cards are still easier to use, since they are accepted at almost all retailers. Even if mobile wallets take off, it will be many, many years before consumers can leave their card(s) at home.
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
7/25/2014 | 8:14:33 AM
Is Apple's Passbook really a wallet?
Apple's passbook can store certain information from Apple partner companies, such as Starbucks, United Airlines, Starwood Hotels and more. But is it really a digital wallet in its current form? You have to have the Starbucks, United Airlines, Starwood Hotels apps in order to load it into Passbook, so I don't think you can really call it a digital wallet.

That said, it is rumored that Apple will be entering the mobile wallet race soon (but people have been saying that for a couple of years, so who knows):

New Details on Apple's mWallet Launch
klynch194
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klynch194,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/24/2014 | 3:54:12 PM
Re: PayPal vs. The Competition
So what do readers think about the new Visa Checkout, a more limited purpose wallet that Visa hopes will overcome the lack of understanding / lack of adoption conundrum?
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
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