Why Mobile Wallets Haven’t Taken Off Yet

September 8, 2014, Written By Lynn Oldshue
Woman Hand Holding The Phone With Onlain Shopping On The Screen

Mobile wallets are becoming widely available on the market, yet they are mostly seen as a gimmick, not a convenience. There are many reasons why consumers are not using mobile wallets just yet, and indications are this transition will be slow.

A survey released by Yankee Group earlier this year showed only 16% of consumers had used their phones to make an in-store purchase between December 2013 and February 2014. However, two-thirds of the people surveyed said they were interested in learning more about mobile wallets in the future. The intrigue is there, but people are struggling with the commitment.

In a world of constantly changing technology, consumers often fear the use of something new when it comes to their finances. This isn’t like a new smartphone that’s being introduced to the market. It’s a new way to manage and spend money, and people seem to question its security.

Marketing professor David Reibstein from the University of Pennsylvania remarked on a similar hesitation consumers felt when credit cards were first introduced. “There were some that were paranoid and upset about the loss of privacy. [Now] we don’t even think about American Express or Visa knowing what we are buying. There will be concern, but it will dissipate, unless it is abused.”

Another factor that may slow down the acceptance of mobile wallets is the moderate level of convenience they provide. While they can help users control multiple credit cards from their phones, most people do not find the act of swiping their credit card to be a hassle. Combine this with a lack of mobile wallet readers in stores, and the whole process seems a little unnecessary for the majority of consumers.

Will mobile wallets continue to grow in the future? Most likely. There is enough interest in the technology to indicate that to be the case. All we have to do is wait for that interest to turn into usage over time.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 8, 2014. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.