Mobile Payments Around the World: Expert Market Looks at Mobile Wallet Use

February 21, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

It’s clear that mobile payments are not just an American phenomenon. In fact, the United States actually lags much of the world when it comes to mobile payments use. Just how much does it lag? A new report from Expert Market shows that the US is pretty far behind its counterparts worldwide, though still ahead of the pack on at least some points.

The study found that China, not surprisingly, is the leader when it comes to mobile payments use. 36 percent of all point-of-sale (PoS) transactions are made by mobile in China, and given what we’ve heard from firms like Ant Financial over the last couple years, that’s only somewhat shocking. The next closest competitor is India, in which six percent of all transactions are made via mobile wallet. That’s quite surprising, given its recent demonetization efforts.

From there, it becomes a contest that’s packed with ties. For instance, India is in second place with six percent, but it’s tied with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at that same six percent. Third place, meanwhile, is a huge four-way tie, with Germany, Indonesia, the UK, and South Africa all claiming five percent. The United States, by way of reference, brings in just three percent, but that’s still enough to beat several other countries. Canada, for example, comes in at just one percent, and even Russia can only post two percent to its credit.

In perhaps the biggest shock, a substantial portion of southeast Asia, virtually all of Eastern Europe including Finland, and virtually all of Africa and the Middle East can’t even post appreciable numbers.

Very little of this study is a surprise. We’ve known China is all over mobile payments, and has been for months, even years. We know that India has made a big play, and we know large portions of the industrialized world are lagging. We even know that there are huge opportunities for mobile payments to gain inroads out there, especially in Africa, so we’re likely to see even more efforts staged in that direction than we’ve seen already.

Knowing this kind of thing can be useful in the long term, especially in terms of future marketing. This report might well be the report that launches a thousand ships targeting the lesser-served markets.