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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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