Americans see smartphone payments replacing cards and cash, eventually

Americans see smartphone payments replacing cards and cash, eventually

Most Americans think mobile phone payments will eventually replace cash and cards at the checkout, but few expect it to happen within the next five years, according to a poll from Harris Interactive.

In-store contactless mobile payments are still alien to most in the US, with only four per cent of 2383 adults surveyed having paid in this manner, and another eight per cent witnessing a transaction.

Despite this, the rise of mobile NFC is widely seen as inevitable, with two thirds believing that it will eventually replace payment card transactions, although only 32% think this will happen in less than five years.

Cash is seen as slightly more resilient, with 61% of Americans believing smartphone payments will eventually replace bills and coins, 26% within five years.

There appears to little real enthusiasm for the brave new mobile world; while just over a quarter of those polled say that they are interested in being able to use their smartphone to process in-person payments, just eight per cent are "very interested".

The figures for smartphone users are far higher, with 44% interested and 16% very interested. The young are more interested than the old; men more than women; and households with children more than those without.

Among those who are not interested in the technology, security is key: half say they don't want to store sensitive information on their phone, and four in ten don't want to transmit this data to a merchant's device. Meanwhile, just over half of those not interested say they simply don't see any reason to switch from cash or cards.

On what could entice people, 28% of all respondents and 40% of smartphone owners say that being able to make mobile payments while still taking advantage of their existing credit card reward programmes would make them more interested. However far fewer say it would make a big difference.

Similarly, when asked how the ability to use their smartphones as a digital wallet - with electronic versions of all the identifications, loyalty programme cards and other documentation normally carried in a wallet - three in ten Americans and four in ten smartphone owners say it would make them more interested, but far fewer (eight per cent and 12%, respectively) specify that it would make a big difference.

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 12 December, 2012, 21:33Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

And some day, people may well live on the moon.  However, a business case built on either eventuality would seem foolish. Cash, currency and payment cards will continue to dominate in-person consumer payments for the foreseeable future.  At the end of the day, how difficult is it to put your hand in your pocket?? 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 13 December, 2012, 06:481 like 1 like

A cashless future is inevitability.  If you think that it is more akin to living
on the moon, that's your business.  A cashless society has far more advantages for the whole of society than cash to remain in its place.  Proper collection of taxes will benefit every sector of society. 
Cash theft and its associated violence will be consigned to
history.  There will not be any need in future to count money, or count change. Nor will there be a need to securely store and transport cash from one place to another in future.  Computer crime and identity theft will always be with us, regardless of cash's continued existence in our communities.  Removing cash eliminates a lot of problems for lots of people.     

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 14 December, 2012, 16:29Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

As long as bank cards remain the funding method - and I haven't seen any report claiming the death of cards in that role - does it really matter whether the plastic form factor of cards is replaced by a sticker or key fob or QR code or NFC? I think it's high time we deferred all this airtime for mobile payments to the day when they run on their own rails without needing banks and the card accounts maintained by banks. Not sure whether that day will come in my lifetime, though.