Almost 3 out of 4 Australians don’t care about mobile payments

Sally McMullen 25 May 2017

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There's no shortage of options, so why can't we be bothered to tap and go with our smartphones?

Mobile contactless payment technology is growing rapidly in Australia. In the last 18 months, we’ve seen the launch of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. Plus, the battle over NFC access between Apple Pay, the Big Four banks and ASIC has meant digital wallets have been the source of much conversation.

Despite all of this, does the average Australian cardholder really care about mobile payments? A recent survey conducted by finder.com.au has us thinking not.

While more than a quarter of Australians (28%) have used their smartphone to complete a banking transaction, the majority of Australians don’t see the point. In fact, almost three quarters (72%) of Australians have yet to use their mobiles to make a purchase.

Considering that most major Australian card issuers are either linked to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay or have their own contactless payment apps, it’s interesting that Aussies aren’t picking up the new technology. In 2016, Australia was also named a leader in contactless payment technology and we’re known for our quick adoption of contactless card technologies such as Visa payWave and Mastercard PayPass. So, what’s stopping us from using mobile contactless payments?

According to almost 1 in 10 Australians (9%), there’s no benefit to using your phone for payments. Meanwhile, another 43% of Australians are not using mobile payments because they’re satisfied with using either card or cash. So, with these sentiments in mind, it could be the lack of additional value or features that is stopping cardholders from using their smartphones to make contactless payments.

In an interview with finder earlier this year, Mastercard’s head of payment innovation Garry Duursma also said that Australians were unlikely to fully adopt mobile payments until banks offered extra incentives and a more intelligent shopping experience. For example, some value-add extras could include cashback, higher earn rates or a more advanced shopping functionality.

Meanwhile, the remaining 20% of respondents hadn’t used mobile contactless payments because they don’t trust the security of the technology. As digital wallets are protected by encrypted technology and a unique Device Account Number, it might be a matter of Australians using the technology more or learning about the security measures before they feel safe using it.

While the majority of Australians have yet to try mobile contactless payments, global head of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey said she was confident that Australian customers would change banks to access Apple Pay in February. However, considering over 70% of Australians aren’t interested in using digital wallets, her prediction hasn’t come true quite yet. Interestingly though, Apple users were more likely (36%) to take advantage of their digital wallets than Samsung owners (28%).

So, while contactless payment technology continues to evolve, we probably won't be seeing the bulk Australians paying with their smartphones anytime soon.

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