Report: Mobile Usage Growing, Interest in NFC Waning

Nov. 21, 2013

Even though mobile payments of all kinds are growing, adoption is still low and U.S. consumers may be showing signs of fatigue with the technology—especially “tap-to-pay” technologies at the POS, according to a new report from Harris Interactive. Americans are more likely to have performed or witnessed firsthand a mobile payment in 2013 than they were in 2012. Among consumers in general, 32 percent were present when a merchant swiped a card through a reader connected to a mobile device this year compared to 25 percent in 2012. For NFC-based contactless payments, the percentage of consumers who either performed one or witnessed such a transaction grew from 13 percent last year to 17 percent this year.

While consumers are becoming more experienced with the technology, however, actual interest in using it waned between 2012 and 2013. Only 24 percent of U.S. consumers said they were interested in using a smartphone to make payments at the POS this year, compared with 27 percent in 2012. Among smartphone owners the drop was even more significant, with 37 percent interested in using mobile payments in 2013 vs. 44 percent last year. Researchers said the drop could be attributable to the reality of mobile payments’ availability not living up to the hype.

“Dwindling interest since last year may be an indication that the initial interest has fallen short with practical use, and has not yet been followed up by a constructive call to action by manufacturers and retailers,” said Aaron Kane, senior research director at Harris Interactive. “Right now, the bottom line is that consumers don’t yet feel as if they’re being presented with a compelling enough reason to switch their payment habits, nor are they confident that these new methods are secure. This knowledge ‘gap’ represents an opportunity for companies to change the conversation by addressing these issues head-on.”