But what will it take to get consumers using mobile wallets more regularly?
To find the answer, Points surveyed 1,500 consumers to produce a new study — “The State of Mobile Wallet Loyalty and Engagement in 2016” — and one result stood out as the main driver for future success.
Almost all consumers (94.4 percent, in fact) said they would use a mobile wallet more frequently if they could earn and redeem loyalty points and miles with every transaction.
While Points has an obvious interest in this result, the sample size is significant, and the results fall in line with other recent studies. It seems the answer to getting people to pay with their smartphones lies not in the convenience of doing so, but in what they get back if they do.
The report, however, also highlights a barrier to success: security concerns.
The security aspects of mobile wallets are, in reality, strong. But that isn’t the issue. Consumers are worried about “perceived” security issues, much in the way people mistrusted online transactions in the beginning.
“Consumers are still skeptical of mobile wallet security, and it’s been one of the major hurdles holding mobile wallets back from mass adoption,” Christopher Barnard, president and cofounder at Points told me. “People place a very high level of importance on security. Our study found that nearly four in five people said security was one of the most important features they look at when considering a mobile wallet.”
So how can mobile wallet providers fix this?
Security aside, driving mobile wallet usage through loyalty schemes is all well and good, but consumers may get “loyalty fatigue” as they become members of too many programs. With individual loyalty schemes, three leading hardware-focused wallets (Android, Apple, Samsung), a whole slew of third-party payment apps, not to mention pre-paid apps like Starbucks, how likely is it that we’ll see consolidation in this space, and how much is this fragmentation hurting adoption?
“While all this fragmentation is hurting adoption on the whole, it is helping to show us what’s working and what consumers want from mobile wallets,” Barnard said. “Most wallets do a couple of things especially well, but no one wallet has emerged as the single go-to for a critical mass of users. As these different solutions learn from each other, we’ll see consolidation happen as more providers hone in on aspects of mobile wallets that are really driving value and engagement. And we’ll see adoption increase when more solutions are able to deliver a more complete user experience.”
So what does the future look like, and what is the key to mass adoption?
“Consumers are looking for more ways to use their mobile wallets beyond payments,” Barnard said. “For example, most people have a rewards-earning credit card — they’re motivated to use certain cards on certain purchases because of the rewards incentive. Mobile wallets can offer the same opportunity when integrated with loyalty rewards. The study also found that nearly all consumers said that they would use a mobile wallet more frequently if they could earn or redeem loyalty points and miles with every purchase. This is a testimony to the fact that we’ll see greater adoption when more providers begin to integrate loyalty into their wallets.”