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34% of Those Eligible Are Using Mobile Payments, But Few Would Recommend Them

April 30, 2018

(New York, NY):  After a year of celebrity following its release in late-2014, Apple Pay had to share the spotlight with Android Pay and Samsung Pay. Since then, the market has grown even more crowded, with merchants, such as Walmart and Kohl’s, developing Pay options for their consumers to use at the point of sale. But according to Auriemma’s Q1-2018 Mobile Pay Tracker, usage of Apple, Google (formerly Android), and Samsung Pay has still managed to grow five points (to 34%) compared to Q1-2017. While this growth is a positive for mobile payments, a declining proportion of these users would recommend the service, signaling trouble ahead.

“The influx of new players makes the future of the Big Three uncertain,” says Jaclyn Holmes, Director of Payment Insights at Auriemma. “Being first to market hasn’t given Apple, Google, or Samsung a leg up on mobile payment newcomers. Providers who are able to deliver a more positive, reliable Pay experience are most likely to encourage continued Pay usage, while others may struggle in the years ahead.”

Problems at the point of sale can prevent even the most enthusiastic Pay users from developing the habit of paying with their mobile device. This, in turn, lessens the opportunity and likelihood for recommending the service. In fact, 42% of mobile payment users wouldn’t recommend the service, up 11 points compared to last year (31%).  And because these sentiments are strongest among the most inactive Pay users (87% very inactive vs. 6% very active), it’s clear developing the habit is key to the success of mobile payments. But this routine could be more easily developed with merchant mobile payments, which have more control over their Pay experience and can eliminate many of the barriers that trouble Apple, Google, and Samsung Pay users.

Merchants have an advantage over the Big Three: a guarantee of acceptance across all its stores and a uniform in-store experience. While most of Apple, Google, and Samsung Pay users think in-store acceptance has improved since these mobile payments launched, reported issues at the point of sale have remained the same compared to last year. Among the issues, unfamiliar cashiers and an inability to complete the transaction come out on top, with a plurality of in-store Pay users who quit and decide to swipe their card instead. All of this could potentially be avoided with a well-conceived Merchant Pay option.

“Merchants have the power to create a frictionless mobile payment experience,” says Holmes. “They can train their store employees to become Pay champions who promote the payment option, offer assistance, and do so in a way that keeps lines moving and customers smiling.”

Survey Methodology

This study was conducted online within the US by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma Consulting Group (Auriemma) in January/February 2018, among 1,527 mobile pay eligible consumers. Respondents were screened to own an iPhone 8/8+/7/7+/6/6+/6s/6s+/SE/X or Apple Watch (in combination with an iPhone 5/5C/5S) – a Samsung Galaxy S8, S8 Edge/Edge+, S7, S7 Edge, S7 Active, a Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge/Edge+, S6 Active or Galaxy Note 5, Note 7 or Note 8 – Gear S2 or S3 watch (in combination with an Android/iPhone smartphone) – and/or other Android phone with KitKat (4.4) OS or newer. All respondents also have a general-purpose credit card in their own name.

About Auriemma Consulting Group

For more than 30 years, Auriemma’s mission has been to empower clients with authoritative data and actionable insights. Our team comprises recognized experts in four primary areas: operational effectiveness, consumer research, co-brand partnerships, and corporate finance. Our business intelligence and advisory services give clients access to the data, expertise and tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex environment and maximize their performance. Auriemma serves the consumer financial services ecosystem from our offices in New York City and London. For more information, visit us at www.acg.net or call Jaclyn Holmes at (212) 323-7000.