Accenture finds low mobile payment adoption rates in North America

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 23 October 2015
Accenture finds low mobile payment adoption rates in North America

Fewer than one in five North Americans use their mobile phones to make at least one payment a week, according to a new report from Accenture.

Based on a survey of 4,000 smartphone users in the US and Canada, the 2015 North America Consumer Digital Payments Survey found that while the number of North American consumers who have access to mobile payments rose nearly 10% to 52% last year, actual mobile payment usage only grew by 1%.

“Though it’s clear that consumers are aware that they can make payments through their phones, continued use of existing payment methods – such as credit cards and cash – and slow retail adoption of modern card readers have caused usage levels to remain stagnant over the last year,” said Robert Flynn, managing director for Accenture Payment Services in North America. “This is a clear indicator to banks and retailers that although the digital transformation in payments is progressing, there is still a long way to go before we reach broad market adoption.”

According to the survey, consumers with a minimum household income of US$150,000 are the top adopters, with 38% using their phones to make payments at merchant locations at least weekly. Millenials – people aged between 18 and 34 – are the second-most prolific adopters, with 23% making mobile payments at a merchant location at least once a week. The average is 18% for other age groups.

Accenture also found that more than three quarters of consumers who currently make mobile payments would use the services more regularly if they were offered discounted pricing, coupons or reward points based on past buying behaviour. Meanwhile more than half of non-users would be encouraged to adopt mobile payments if they were offered the same benefits.

Survey respondents also indicated that they were interested in wearable or connected payment devices, and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. One in five have used a wearable device to make a payment at least once, and the same number of respondents reported being interested in making a payment through a connected smart device, such as a smart appliance or a smart car. More than 40% of consumers had used P2P payment apps, while 15% use them on a weekly basis.

“We’re at the edge of a new frontier for connected commerce and just beginning to see some of the possibilities it offers,” said David Edmondson, senior managing director of Accenture’s Banking industry practice for North America. “With almost half of North Americans still using traditional cheques to make payments to other consumers, P2P payments remains poised for potentially strong growth. Overall, integrating payments with the power that internet of things technologies can offer promises to usher in a new era of consumer product innovation and retail merchandising.”

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