What’s in Your Mobile Payments Wallet?

Does anyone really regularly pay yet with Apple Pay, Google Wallet or Samsung Pay when they do their grocery shopping, pick up their prescription drugs, buy clothes at Macy’s or Urban Outfitters, or when they eat at their favorite local hangout? 

I know I don’t use these methods very often . . .  and I work in the payments industry. Our firm is deep in the middle of the digital payments revolution. We provide actionable insights and strategies about merchant and consumer interest (or lack thereof), and interaction with many different type of payment systems and methods.

We stay on top of the industry “trends”. There’s always a lot of hype about the newest company that will revolutionize the digital payments business or how some cool and innovative phone app will finally convince people to give up their credit cards, or heaven forbid, their rarely carried hard earned greenbacks stashed crumpled up deep in their pockets, pursues or wallets.

Our proprietary research shows that only 3 percent of consumers have used Apple Pay in the last 30 days. Same for Google Wallet.  3%, and that’s probably high given that some consumers over-state usage of certain products. 

So, what gives? What’s holding back the payments “Revolution”? (Thanks, Bernie!)

A recent article in payments.com summarized it nicely – “the general sentiment is more like why bother changing or I like what I’m already using better.” 

Paying with chip is a pain. Some merchants offer chip, others don’t. That lack of consistency causes confusion. The process of paying with chip is freaking slow -  Ask anyone!  I hate carrying cash and I give away my extra coins. Every time I walk into Whole Foods, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Trader Joe’s, etc., I think about paying with my phone, and sometimes I go through the awkward process of trying, but it’s rare that I am able to actually execute.  Why?!

Here’s why I think most people avoid paying with their smartphone:

·      “What do they accept at this place?”

·      “Oh, that’s an old sticker – we don’t accept that payment method anymore.”

·      “Do I have Apple Pay? What is it really?”

·      “I have Apple Pay and Google Wallet? Which one should I choose?”

·      “Wait, is my phone charged to do this?”

·      “Do I have to open an app? Where is the app?”

·      “Oh, can I pay with PayPal?”

·      “I put my phone over the scanner but nothing happened. There’re people waiting in line behind me! Can you help me with this?”

·       “Oh, I see, it’s automatic. But I did that last time and it didn’t work.”

·      “I’m confused.”

·      “I give up; I’ll just swipe my card.” 

·      “Ahhg! No, I’ll insert the card.”

·      “And, ugh, wait, and wait.”

I’m beginning to wonder when mobile payments will no longer feel like an experiment and more like a habit…

What’s in your mobile payments wallet?