Smartphone Payments Inevitable but Consumers Are Somewhat Reluctant

Smartphone Payments Inevitable but Consumers Are Somewhat Reluctant

Over six in ten Americans believe smartphone payments will eventually replace both payment card (66 percent) and cash (61 percent) transactions for a majority of purchases, according to a new poll by Harris Interactive. However, they don't believe it will happen anytime soon--only 32 percent believe smartphone payments will replace card payments in less than five years, and just 26 percent feel cash will be replaced by smartphone payments within five years.

While this may be a wave of the future, respondents do not necessarily have an interest in replacing their own card or cash transactions for purchases with the tap of a smartphone. Just 27 percent of Americans and 44 percent of smartphone users report an overall interest using their smartphone to process in-person payments.

There are clear lines of differentiation as to which consumers are more interested in utilizing this technology.

  • Younger respondents, such as Echo Boomers (40 percent) and Gen Xers (34 percent), have a stronger interest in doing so than either Baby Boomers (18 percent) or Mature Adults (7 percent).
  • Men (32 percent) are much more interested in this technology than women (22 percent).
  • Households with children (38 percent) have a stronger interest than those in households without children (22 percent).

There seems to be three factors standing in the way of a greater acceptance of this new payment technology. Of those saying they have little or no interest in this payment form, approximately half of the respondents said they were concerned about security, such as not wanting to store sensitive data on their phone or transmit data to a merchant's device; did not have a desire to own a smartphone; and did not see any reason to switch away from cash or card payments.

The Harris Poll was conducted online with 2,383 adults between November 14 and 19.


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Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of LowCards.com and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 12 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor. Bill can be contacted directly at billh@lowcards.com