For US Shoppers, Mobile Payments are Increasingly on Hand

July 28, 2015         By: Steven Anderson

New technology is often, for many, greeted with skepticism. It takes the brave souls known as “early adopters” to step into the gap, try out the latest and greatest, and show the rest of us that a particular new technology isn’t nearly the scary entity it might have been.

Mobile payments are no different, but as more payment methods come into the limelight, and more places accept them, the idea of mobile payments is less frightening and more functional. For United States shoppers, meanwhile, mobile payments are being turned to more regularly as a result.

A recent study from Synchrony Financial—performed using almost 7,000 Synchrony Bank cardholders and shoppers in the United States as a base—revealed just how quickly United States shoppers were making the move.

Eighteen percent of consumers have turned to a mobile device to make a purchase, either in stores or online. That’s up from 12 percent in 2013, and 16 percent just last year, showing the gains are steady, if gradual.

This was not all; the company also revealed from its study that value propositions—including things like free shipping for orders place, loyalty programs to reward those who frequently shop with a company, and personalized offers for shoppers—also continue to bear an impact on who shops where…and with what kind of payment platform.

A separate study from Synchrony about back to school shopping plans drove that point home, discovering that price was an overriding concern for parents, with most planning to spend either the same amount or potentially more this year. Indeed, almost half of all K-12 parents involved in the study found there were increases in the supply list over the same time last year, but over a third of K-12 parents also turn to mobile devices to search for coupons and online deals.

For mobile payments to really take off as an industry, it requires two things: one, there have to be several places that accept mobile payments in the first place, and two, there have to be several platforms available for users to put to them to work.

We’ve been seeing both of these come increasingly into play over the last several months, and now, we’re seeing a steady climb in the numbers for users willing to turn to such platforms. It’s still a long way from the mainstream, with not even a quarter of a bank’s customers turning to such systems. However, there are clear ways to turn this around, and the study makes this task even clearer.

When it becomes as simple to use mobile payment systems, as it is to use cash, then mobile payments will have truly made it. We’re getting to that point very rapidly, but not quite there yet. Until then, we’ll likely see more stories about the growth of mobile payments worldwide, and more about how users are increasingly ready to put these comparatively new systems to work.