NEW YORK, June 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --Mobile transactions are a growing category in a very real sense, with awareness of the various payment opportunities the category offers continuing to rise. What's more, majorities of Americans indicate that tapping to pay could be useful across a broad gamut of retailers and service providers. However, interest in actually capitalizing on such features – which can include anything from using a smartphone for "tap-to-pay" transactions to utilizing mobile apps to redeem offers to having your payment card swiped through a smartphone or tablet attachment – remains stagnant. What's more, though majorities of Americans do foresee tap-to-pay transactions eventually displacing cash or cards, few think this prospect is likely to become a reality within the next few years. However, a deeper dive among those Americans who've used mobile devices for payments, purchases or other transactions within the past 30 days shows generally high satisfaction rates.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,221 U.S. adults surveyed online between February 11 and 17, 2015 and Nielsen's Mobile Wallet Study1, a comprehensive online study of 3,606 U.S. mobile shopping, payment and/or banking users aged 18+ (interviewed in October 2014). Full results of this study, including data tables, can be found here.
Experiences on the rise…
The percentage of both the U.S. general population in total and smartphone users in particular who have either experienced or witnessed various types of mobile transactions continues to rise, with some key points of growth including:
Paying for a product or service by having a card swiped through an attachment on the seller's smartphone, sometimes referred to as "Mobile vendor" type transactions (Growing among the general population from 25% in 2012 to 32% in 2013 and 36% in 2015/ among Smartphone users from 35% to 43% to 46%).
Paying by tapping a smartphone against a special receiver at a store or other merchant, instead of using cash or a payment card (General population: from 13% to 17% to 20%/ Smartphone users: from 18% to 23% to 26%).
Using a mobile device in place of a ticket, both in an airline, train, mass transit or other transportation setting (growing from 17% to 20% to 29% among the general population/ from 26% to 30% to 37% among smartphone users) and to get into a movie, concert or live theater performance (from 15% to 19% to 25% among U.S. adults / from 23% to 29% to 33% among smartphone users).
…and perceived usefulness is strong across a variety of points of service…
Also compelling is the majorities of Americans who feel mobile payments would be useful across a broad spectrum of points of service, with no clear "best" fit.
Close to six in ten U.S. adults, and roughly two-thirds of smartphone users, feel mobile payments would be useful for public transit (61% of Americans and 68% of smartphone users), movie theaters (59%, 68%), "big box" retailers (59%, 65%), gas stations/convenience stores (59%, 65%), counter service restaurants (58%, 66%) and taxis/car services (58%, 66%).
Strong percentages also feel such transactions would be useful at sports arenas (55%, 61%), local (individual or small chain) retail stores (55%, 62%), restaurants offering table service (54%, 61%) and bars (49%, 56%).
…but interest isn't keeping pace
Looking more specifically at the tap-to-pay model, while exposure may be on the rise, interest doesn't follow the same pattern when it comes to using a smartphone to process in-person payments instead of cash or cards. Interest among Americans as a whole, which dropped slightly in 2013 (from 27% in 2012 to 24% in 2013) has rebounded in an equally slight manner (back to 27%). Moreover, among the target market of smartphone users, interest – which fell from 44% in 2012 to 37% in 2013 – remains stagnant, still at 37% today.
Among those not interested, security concerns and a simple lack of compelling motivation are currently the top impediments to adoption.
56% of those not interested (64% among uninterested smartphone users) say they don't want to store sensitive information on their phone, while nearly half (46%; 52% among smartphone users) don't want to transmit such information to the merchant's device.
54% of those not interested (60% among smartphone users) indicate that they simply don't see any reason to switch from cash or payment cards to this new method.
What's ahead for tap-to pay? Well, how far ahead are we talking?
Majorities of Americans anticipate tap-to-pay smartphone payments eventually replacing payment card (63%) and cash (57%) transactions (71% and 62%, respectively, among smartphone users) in the future – but not necessarily in the near future. Three in ten Americans (30%; 36% among smartphone users) believe such transactions will replace normal payment cards within the next five years, and one-fourth (26%; 30% among smartphone users) believe it will replace cash transactions in that timeframe.
However, growing percentages of both U.S. adults (43% vs. 41% in 2013 and 39% in 2012) in general and smartphone users specifically (38% vs. 34% and 30%, respectively) don't believe that tap-to-pay transactions will ever replace cold, hard cash.
What are adopters saying?
Data from Nielsen's Mobile Wallet Study1, a comprehensive online study of 3,606 U.S. mobile shopping, payment and/or banking users aged 18+ (interviewed in October 2014), indicates that getting consumers to try these features out may be the biggest hurdle, as satisfaction is generally strong among adopters – though to varying degrees, depending on the service and the specific provider.
Mobile banking users rate applications available for this area highly, with more than eight in ten extremely or very satisfied; ease of use, availability of services, and reliability ratings are also strong. Nearly as many mobile shoppers (more than seven in ten) are similarly satisfied with their last mobile purchase experience.
Satisfaction is more disparate for mobile payment terminals, with the percentage of users extremely or very satisfied with the various terminals currently available ranging from less than half to roughly seven in ten.
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This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United Statesbetween February 11 and 17, 2015 among 2,221 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.
1The insights from Nielsen's Mobile Wallet Report were gathered from general population sample 18+ years and older and consisted of 3,606 respondents who have used their smartphone or tablet for mobile shopping, paying or banking in the past 30 days. The respondents completed an online, self-administered survey in October 2014. The survey was conducted in English, and included respondents from key multicultural segments, including U.S. Hispanic, Asian-American and African-American markets. For more information about Nielsen's Mobile Wallet Report, call (800) 234-5973.
The Harris Poll®#34, June 18, 2015
By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll
About The Harris Poll®
Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. For more information, or to see other recent polls, visit www.theharrispoll.com.
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