Most Aussies are aware of tap and go but hardly any of us are using it

Posted: 24 September 2018 11:45 am

paying with mobile

Only 11.5% of Australians have tapped to pay in the last year.

In a world awash with new ways to pay, it appears only a small percentage of us are actually utilising them. A study from Roy Morgan based on interviews with over 50,000 consumers found that despite 57.3% of Australians being aware of tap and go payments, only 11.5% had used it in the past 12 months.

Tap and go payments, also referred to as contactless payments, allow consumers to pay by hovering their debit or credit card or device over a payment reader. Most debit and credit cards allow tap and go payments in Australia and more devices are now coming enabled with tap and pay too. These devices include not only smartphones and smartwatches but also wearables. Roy Morgan's study found consumers were rarely using devices, specifically mobile payment apps, to make these payments.

CEO of Roy Morgan, Michele Levine, said new digital payment solutions such as tap and go present a clear opportunity for consumers and companies.

"The solutions being developed by the new market entrants and the incumbents not only help the consumer with a quicker and more convenient way to pay but provide businesses with rich data on what the consumers are purchasing, how they are purchasing it and where," she said.

More Australians, 46.4% compared to 39.6%, were aware of non-bank mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay rather than the banks own payment apps.

When looking at usage overall, it's quite evenly split between non-bank and bank payment solutions. According to the research, 6.5% reported using a non-bank mobile payment solution in the last 12 months while 6.4% said they used one from the bank. The graph below shows the percentages for each specific tap and pay platform, both non-bank and bank.

Many large banks offer their own payment solution as well as allowing customers to add their card to a third-party solution such as Samsung Pay. Offering this choice is good for consumers as they can decide how they pay with their device. However, this depends on the device the consumer has.

Apple does not give external access to its Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, so banks are unable to build their own payment offerings into their Apple apps. Unless banks agree to partner with Apple Pay, their customers cannot make mobile payments using the bank's debit or credit cards on their Apple device. CommBank, NAB and Westpac have yet to partner with Apple Pay. This may be one explanation as to why usage numbers are still low: iPhone users banking with three of the Big Four banks cannot make payments using their devices.

Levine says that it's already feasible for people to go about their daily activities without a card or wallet and financial institutions need to be willing to keep up with this.

"People will come to expect the minimum amount of effort when making a payment and the industry will need to adapt to these changing expectations by providing more innovative and seamless solutions. Traditional financial institutions may need to collaborate with fintechs and other third parties to keep up with the rapidly changing digital payment landscape.”

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