OnBuy: Mobile Payments Gains Ground, Cash Loses in the United States

May 24, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Cash is king. That’s the familiar refrain throughout large portions of the world, including the United States Mobile payment systems—eWallets, credit and debit cards, and the like—have their place, but generally this place pales alongside the little green rectangles that make up so much of life. That may be changing, though, as a new report sent our way from OnBuy.com says that mobile payments tools are increasingly part of life, and that digital payments are an increasing part of life for a likewise increasing number of Americans.

The current predictions, OnBuy notes, suggest that, by 2026, cash use will drop to just 21 percent of the total spending environment. What’s more, eWallet growth will continue to rise, and through that same time frame, will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of just over 30 percent. OnBuy points to a combination of new mobile banking services, new options in mobile payments, and the “proliferation of smart phones” as motives driving the trend.

While obviously cash is out of the picture in online shopping—the number of times we may have shoved cash at a monitor and shrieked “Shut up and take my money!” in the grandest Futurama style notwithstanding—it’s the point-of-sale data that should make users take notice. Credit cards are used in 40 percent of transactions, while debit cards are a fairly close second at 35 percent. Cash comes in third, of all places, at just 16 percent of transactions, while eWallets come in at three percent.

It’s surprising to see cash drop to such a degree, but credit cards—and debit cards to a lesser extent—have long been popular options both online and at the checkout stand. Incorporating them into mobile payments platforms—which they really are in their own right—isn’t out of line. Still, it was a safe bet that cash would be around forever in one form or another, especially while there was any generation before Millennial still in play. That may be the case for a while yet, but as the more technologically-adept generations come forth, mobile payments may gain still more ground.

Only time will tell how the whole thing plays out, but with Generation Z’s destabilizing elements in the background as well, mobile payments may be poised to take on a whole new life.