Mobile wallets - they’ve been touted as the payment systems of the future. After all, being able to lighten your back pocket by leaving your cash-and-card-stuffed wallet at home in favour of a smartphone is an appealing prospect for many.
And according to figures released by Roy Morgan last week, there are a considerable number of mobile wallet enthusiasts in Australia - or at least, a number of consumers who have given the new payment mechanism a chance.
The Roy Morgan Digital Payment Solutions Currency Report, which was based on a survey of 50,000 people across the country, revealed that 11.5% of Aussies used a tap-and-go mobile payment system in the 12 months to June 2018.
Of that 11.5% there was almost an even split between the types of mobile wallet offerings Australians favoured, with fintech players like Apple, Google and Samsung (6.5%) just edging out the offerings from Australian banks (6.4%).
"It is already feasible for someone to go about their daily activities without the need for a physical wallet or card,” said Roy Morgan CEO, Michele Levine.
“This is being aided by the growing proliferation of smartphones and wearables with integrated payment technology such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, and an increasing number of financial institutions enabling their customers to make payments with these devices.”
Room to grow
While 11.5% of Australians may have used one of the many mobile wallet options in the 12 months to June 2018, there's still a big gap to the number of people who are actually using them.
In fact, Roy Morgan found that 39.6% of Australians were aware of bank-owned mobile wallets like the Commonwealth Bank’s Tap & Pay and ANZ’s Mobile Pay, compared to just 6.4% who actually used one.
Meanwhile 46.4% of respondents knew of non-bank payment apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, which compares to just 6.5% who had used one in the 12 month period.
This could suggest that there may still be a long way to go in convincing many Aussies of the benefits of paying with their phones.
The Roy Morgan Report found that digital payment systems as a whole are being utilised by many Australians though, with 59.1% of respondents having used a bill payment service like BPAY in the last 12 months, while 44.4% used an online payment platform like PayPal.
“One thing is clear – Australians love digital payments and the way we make payments is evolving quickly,” said Levine.
"People will come to expect the minimum amount of effort when making a payment and the industry will need to adapt to these changing expectations by providing more innovative and seamless solutions. Traditional financial institutions may need to collaborate with Fintechs and other third parties to keep up with the rapidly changing digital payment landscape.”
Want to know exactly how mobile wallets work? You’ll be paying with your phone in no time after reading our handy mobile payments guide, or if you’re in need of a new card to load onto your phone make sure you start your search over at our debit and credit card comparison tables.