Home Digital How behavioral science can unleash digital payments adoption

How behavioral science can unleash digital payments adoption

Mobile payments have failed to make a dent in the U.S. despite the fact that we have one of the highest smartphone ownership rates in the world. The share of smartphone ownership in the U.S. now stands at an impressive 77%. Yet only one in ten smartphone users in the U.S. consider mobile as the preferred method of payment.

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The unimpressive adoption of mobile payment in the U.S. is also alarming if we consider that mobile payment options have been available for several years. Technology giants Apple have invested heavily to make Apple Pay available since 2014. Meanwhile Google and Samsung’s mobile payment services have been available in the U.S. since 2015.

Mobile payments can deliver substantial benefits for the consumer and companies alike. The ability to consolidate payments into a smartphone instead of having to wrestle with cash, credit cards, paper coupons or loyalty cards affords ease, convenience and speed. Mobile payment technology is also more secure, and holds the potential for substantial cost improvements including decreased infrastructure and operational costs.

Given our high smartphone penetration, the availability of mobile payment services offered by notable industry giants Apple, Google and Samsung, and the benefits of mobile payments, why does the U.S. consumer still prefer to pay by cash or card?

In this report, we seek to understand the psychological factors driving U.S. consumers’ payment behaviors and decisions. We focus on their decision-making process paying close attention to their unconscious biases and psychological fallacies. We identify behavioral barriers as opposed to technology or infrastructure issues that impede mobile payments adoption; and explore behavioral-based approaches to motivate and encourage continued mobile payment usage.

We will be sharing insights drawn from a survey of U.S. adults about their payment attitudes, behaviors and preferences.