Mobile payments are the future as we move towards a cashless world. In some markets, cash is already a thing of the past but many nations are slower to make the mobile switch for a number of reasons. Needless to say, we’re in the progress of a transition stage and this means merchants need to pick the right moment to incorporate mobile payments into their business.

We’ve collected the latest and most significant data on mobile payments and broken them down into sections covering global data, the US, East Asia, Europe and the UK. 

Throughout this article mobile payments is defined as using a mobile device to make a in-store or point of sale payments using mobile wallets and technology like near-field communication (NFC) payments like Apple pay uses, Magnetic secure transmission (MST) payments like Samsung Pay or Sound waves-based / signal based payments. We are not referring to using mobile phones to transfer money remotely or purchase something online through a payment processor (e.g. via paypal or entering credit card details). If you are looking more information on mCommerce, check ​our global mobile eCommerce stats and forecasts.

Global Mobile Payment Statistics

WeChat Pay Is The World’s Biggest Mobile Payment Platform With 1bn+ Users (2019)

With China’s huge population driving its mobile payments industry, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the global market is dominated by Chinese tech firms. WeChat Pay is the world’s biggest mobile payment platform and a record 823 million people used it to send and receive money gifts this Lunar New Year (February 2019).

WeChat Pay says it has more than 1 billion daily active users and Chinese competitor Alipay also claims to have surpassed the 1 billion mark this year.0

CompanyActive usersLatest figures from
WeChat1 billion+Tencent (Jan 2019)
Alipay1 billion+Alipay (Jan 2019)
Paypal250 millionPayPal (Sep 2018)
Apple Pay383 millionLoup Ventures; QZ (Feb 2019)
Amazon Pay50 millionEvercore ISI, Investopedia (May 2018)
Samsung Pay1 billion+Statista (Aug 2017)
Google Pay24 millionStatista (Aug 2017)

Global Use of Mobile Payments Forecast To Increase To 28% In 2022  And Surpass Credit Cards And Cash (2018)

According to Worldpay’s 2018 Global Payment Report the use of mobile payments is set to continue its inexorable rise and become the second most common payment method after debit cards by 2022. These global stats mask a lot of variability between regions which are covered further down in this article. 

Global Share of Point Of Sale Payment Methods

Chart by MerchantSavvy.co.uk | Data Source: Worldpay's 2018 Global Payment Report 

Business Plan To Increase Support For Mobile POS Payments (2018)

The sixth annual Mobile Payments and Fraud Survey conducted in 2018 by Kount found that that 37% of the merchants that participated already supported mobile payments at the Point of Sale (i.e. via NFC, Mobile Web, Mobile Wallets, etc.) and 31.4% planned to add to this feature or increase it. The survey had 600 participants with 70% doing business in the US,  44% are doing business in Canada,  45% doing business in Western Europe,  40% doing business in Asia and compared to 33% in Eastern Europe.

Payment Channels Merchant Plan To Support & Increase

Chart by MerchantSavvy.co.uk | Data Source: Kount.com

Demand For Mobile Payments Is Highest In China, Mongolia, Brazil & Kenya (2017)

According to data from eMarketer and Kantar TNS that was published on published on Statista, China had the highest percentage of respondents who said they preferred using mobile payment platforms. That certainly corresponds to the actual usage in China where WeChat and Alipay dominant as shown above. 

Internet Users Preferring Mobile Payments (2017)

Chart by MerchantSavvy.co.uk | Data Source: eMarketer and Kantar TNS

France & Sweden Are Leading The Cash (2017)

The research undertake by Forex Bonuses analysed 20 of the world’s top economies and ranked them according to their cashless credentials.

Their data indicates that France and Sweden have the highest proportion transactions being made using non cash methods. Their data also shows China has the highest proportion of cards in issue with contactless functionality.

Chart by MerchantSavvy.co.uk | Data Source: Forex Bonuses

Global Mobile Payments Will Exceed £3.5 trillion By 2023 (2018)

According to Allied Market Research, global mobile payment transactions will be worth more than £3.5 trillion by 2023, following growth of 33.8% CAGR between 2017-2023.

 

US Mobile Payment Statistics

89% Of US Consumers Still Shun Mobile Payments (2018)

Despite having one of the highest rates of smartphone adoption in the world (77% in 2018), the US is trailing global leaders when it comes to mobile payments. According to research from Simon-Kucher & Partners, almost 90% of US consumers prefer to pay by cash, credit card or debit card over mobile alternatives.

Lack Of Confidence (70%) & Security Concerns (40%) Are The Biggest Barriers To Mobile Payment Adoption (2018)

Security and data concerns are common issues raised by consumers reluctant to adopt mobile payments in many markets and this is certainly true for the US. According to the same 2018 research from Simon-Kucher & Partners, 40% of US consumers who don’t use mobile payments cite security concerns as a major reason.

This isn’t the main barrier to mobile payment adoption in the US, it seems, though. Almost 70% of respondents who don’t use the technology say it’s because they’re not confident about using it. Of those, 22.9% feel they aren’t tech-savvy enough, 17.7% worry about losing their phone, 10.7% fear they might make mistakes and 9.3% are conscious about the frustration of setting up a new payment system.

The US Mobile Payments Market Is 35 Times Smaller Than World Leader China (2017)

China’s mobile payments market was worth $17 trillion in 2017 according to figures from iResearch quoted in the FT, roughly 35 times more than America’s $49 billion market.

US In-Store Mobile Payments Are Forecast To Reach $128 billion in 2021 (2018)

This would equate to a 40% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) which is reduction in previous forecasts given by Business Intelligence. They note how the growth has not lived up to early hopes saying “usage is consistently lagging below expectations, with estimates for 2019 falling far below what we expected just two years ago.” This equates to 48% of the US consumer population – this figure was previously forecast to be 56% by 2020. 

The Most Popular Mobile Payment App In The US Is… Starbucks? (2018)

Yes, that’s right. According to research from eMarketer, the Starbucks app was the most popular mobile payments platform in the US in 2018. With 23.4 million users, Starbucks beats second-placed Apple Pay (22 million) and the coffee giant is expected to maintain its lead into 2022. Note that there are just users and not total transactions.

What does the Starbucks app have in common with Chinese payment giants Webo and Alipay? Well, for one thing, it’s compatible across all mobile devices – unlike Apple Pay, Android Pay and the other US mobile payment solutions. In China, South Korea and Asia’s other mobile payment leaders, consumers can choose a single mobile payment solution that works for them everywhere, across every device – online and offline.

Users of Mobile Payment Platforms in The US (millions)

Chart by MerchantSavvy.co.uk | Data Source: emarketer

Mobile Payments In The US Are Growing From A Low Base

Whilst Worldpay is forecasting the global use of mobile payments / e-wallets are to rise from 16% in 2018 to 28% in 2022 and overtake cash and credit cards (see Global chart in the section above), they forecast the use in North America will more than double from 3% to 7%. This is obviously still significantly below the global adoption levels but the adoption rate indicates it will continue to take market share from cash and soon over take it. The consumer payment survey outlined below also indicate the days of cash payments are numbered. 

US Point of Sale Payment Methods Forecast 2018 - 2022

Chart by MerchantSavvy.co.uk | Data Source: Worldpay's 2018 Global Payment Report 

Hunger for Mobile Payment Solutions Is On The Up – 51% Are Interested In Using The Technology (2017)

According to the TSYS US Consumer Payment Study, interest in mobile payment solutions is steadily increasing in the US. More than half of people questioned in the study (51%) said they are interested in trying mobile wallets instead of a payment card.

Could it be the hunger is there for mobile payments in the US but the technology and implementation simply haven’t offered anything more convenient than cash and cards?

East Asia Mobile Payment Statistics

Mobile Payments Are Going To Dominate Point Of Sale Payments

Countries in Asia Pacific are dominating the global uptake of e-wallets and mobile POS payments. Within that region China is one of the biggest proponents of e-wallets and research from eMarketer indicates that more than 45.2% of China’s huge population are already using mobile payments.

The region as a whole is forecast to continue its relentless move towards a new cashless society with the 2018 Worldpay report mentioned earlier predicting a huge drop in cash offset by skyrocketing use of mobile payments.  

Asia Pacific Point of Sale Payment Methods Forecast 2018 - 2022

Asia Pacific POS payment methods

Chart by MerchantSavvy.co.uk | Data Source: Worldpay's 2018 Global Payment Report 

Singapore Leads Mobile Payments In Southeast Asia (2016)

The tiny island nation leads the mobile payments race in Southeast Asia thanks to its 85% smartphone penetration, high average wages and strong consumer culture. Despite its population of 5.6 million (compared to Indonesia’s 264 million), Singapore’s mobile payments market is already worth more than $1 billion, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Cash Still Rules Elsewhere In Southeast Asia – 70% Of People In The Region Don’t Have A Bank Account (2016)

Southeast Asia is one of the most rapidly developing technology regions in the world but there’s a major barrier standing in the way of mobile payments – and it’s not smartphone penetration. As research from KPMG highlights, only 27% of people across the region have a bank account.

81% Of Chinese Smartphone Owners Use Mobile Payments In-Store (2018)

At the end of 2018 a survey found massive 81.4% of smartphone users over 14 in China made at least one  proximity mobile payment.

% of smartphone users who have made At Least one proximity mobile payment (Apr-Oct 2018)

Data source: www.emarketer.com

 

Hong Kong & Taiwan Have Been Slower Than China To Adopt Mobile Payments – But Things Are Changing (2018)

China’s connections with Hong Kong and Taiwan are complex (and beyond the scope of this article) but we can confidently say mobile payment habits are widely different on the two islands compared to mainland China.

Cash and cards still rule in Hong Kong but GroupM’s latest mobile wallet study suggests things are changing with mobile wallet penetration has grown from 65% to 89%.

Meanwhile, the Taiwanese government has set itself the target of getting 90% of smartphone users to adopt mobile payments by 2025, according to BI Intelligence.

South Korea’s Kakao Pay Processed Almost £14bn Worth Of Transactions In 2018

South Korea might not be able to compete with China in terms of population but it’s one of the few countries that could claim to have integrated mobile payments into everyday life as effectively. The country’s biggest social network also happens to be a leader in mobile payments and Kakao Pay alone processed almost £14 billion worth of transactions in 2018.

 

European Mobile Payment Statistics

Europe is home to some of the most cashless societies in the world and merchant service providers are continue to increase their range of mobile payment options. As to be expected in such a diverse area, adoption varies greatly across different nations and there are a few standout countries driving the move towards mobile.

92% Of European Millennials Expect To Be Using Mobile Payments Within The Next Three Years (2017)

According to research from Visa Europe, millennials are driving the mobile payment revolution with 92% of the tech-savvy generation saying they’ll adopt the technology by 2020.

Proximity Mobile Payments Are Highest In Denmark & Sweden (2018)

Denmark and Sweden are Europe’s leaders when it comes to making proximity mobile payments, where they use their devices to pay for goods at POS locations in stores/business locations.

Sweden, The UK & France Are Europe’s Most Cashless Countries (2017)

Forex Bonuses research shows that the proportion of payments made on card machines continues to accelerate throughout Europe. Sweden is Europe’s most cashless nation, followed by the UK and France. Canada is the only country ranking above the European trio, which make up the four most cashless nations in the world, according to the study. 

77% Of Europeans Use Mobile Banking And/Or Payments (2017)

Visa Europe data shows 77% of Europeans are already using mobile banking and/or mobile payments. Nearly two-thirds (62%) check their balance or access other services through a banking app, compared to just 29% using mobile banking and 7% using money management apps in 2015.

68% Of Europeans Used A Digital Wallet In 2017 (2017)

Visa Europe research also shows 68% of European consumers used a mobile wallet in 2017. The payment giant says Europeans “are feeling increasingly comfortable doing transactions on their mobile devices, moving away from desktops and laptops as nearly half (48%) of Europeans use a mobile device to shop….Almost the same number (45%) send money to friends and family using a smartphone or tablet.”

Security & Privacy Are Still Concerns For European Consumers (2017)

While Visa research shows mobile payments are growing across Europe, it also reveals concerns about privacy and security are still prevalent. People are less worried about these issues than in the past, though, with concerns about privacy have propping from 51% in 2016 to just 46% in 2017 and concerns about security dropping even further, from 65% to 59% over the same time period.

UK Mobile Payment Statistics

24% Of People In The UK Use Mobile Payments (2018)

This data originally comes from two Mintel Consumer Payment Preferences reports (June 2017 and May 2018) from which the Payment Systems Regulator has compiled in its 2018 Contactless mobile payments report. It shows 24% of UK consumers in February 2018 said they had used mobile payments within the last six months – a 50% increase from 16% who said the same in April 2017.

Mobile Payments In The UK Are Growing 328% Year-On-Year (2017)

Worldpay research in 2017 on UK mobile payments reveals the extent of growth in the rapidly developing market with an estimated £975 million spent over 126 million in store transactions.

65% for Gen Z (16-20 year-olds) think they will use mobile payments more than card by 2022

The Worldpay research think the end is nigh for card payments and not surprisingly it is likely to be led by the younger generation.

Rapid-Service Food Businesses Are The Biggest Winners From UK Mobile Payments (2018)

According to research from Cardlytics in 2018, the UK businesses winning most from the rise of mobile payments are quick-service restaurants (11.3%), coffee shops (11%), public transport (11%) and bars and pubs (9.25%). Meanwhile, separate research from Worldpay indicates fashion retailers have seen the most growth in mobile payments with an increase of almost 500% between 2017-2018.

London Is The UK Capital Of Mobile Payments (2018)

Unsurprisingly, the same piece of research from Cardlytics shows London is the biggest adopter of mobile payments in the UK, accounting for 7% of all transactions under £30 and 5.7% of all transactions – at least 2% higher than any other region.

The East of England is the second-biggest adopter of mobile payments (3.3%) and the South East comes in at third (3.2%) with Yorkshire taking fourth spot (2.9%).

UK Consumers Are Going Contactless (2018)

Last year, Worldpay announced that in-store contactless payments overtook Chip and PIN for the first time in the UK (51%). While mobile payments have contributed to this (5.6% of total payments), the majority of contactless payments in the UK are still made with debit and credit cards.

Meanwhile, the use of cash is falling even further – accounting for just 22% of all purchases, according to the British Retail Consortium. Digital payments now make up almost 80% of all transactions in the UK, proving how ready consumers are to adopt new payment technologies.

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