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Data Snack: Most consumers trust mobile wallets enough to leave their physical wallets at home

  • Mobile wallets and contactless payments continue to gain adoption even as the pandemic’s effects subside globally.
  • Most consumers in the US, UK, and Australia now trust mobile wallets enough to leave their physical wallets at home, according to a recent Marqeta report.

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Data Snack: Most consumers trust mobile wallets enough to leave their physical wallets at home

What happens when the “new normal” becomes just plain normal? Two years ago, shifts in consumer payment behavior that were considered radical are now increasingly being considered table stakes. Following a major surge in adoption caused by the pandemic, contactless payments and mobile wallets have continued to gain market share even as the pandemic’s effects subside globally.

According to Marqeta’s recent State of Consumer Money Movement Report, 75% of people surveyed across the US, UK, and Australia used a mobile wallet in the last 12 months. While the US is slightly behind the overall average at 71%, adoption among Americans is up considerably from 64% in late 2020.

The vast majority of respondents – including 85% of Americans – also rated mobile wallets as a convenient option for making purchases.

As consumers grow trust in mobile wallets, 61% now say they feel confident enough to leave their physical wallet at home and simply carry their smartphone with them.

This confidence is twofold: it stems from a growing sense of trust in the technology, but also the assurance that comes with increased accessibility and greater merchant adoption. 81% of respondents are now convinced that whatever place they shop from will accept mobile wallet payments – and even if one place doesn’t, another one nearby likely will.

Source: Marqeta

There is a large discrepancy in confidence levels between younger and older consumers. In the US, 59% of people aged 18-24 expressed confidence in leaving their wallet at home, while only 36% of those aged 51-65 said the same. The difference is even more pronounced in the UK and Australia. The report suggests that this is because the younger consumers are digitally native, while older generations have been forced to adopt digital payments out of necessity in recent years.

The pandemic brought a global shift in behavior where even consumers who had previously been slow to adopt contactless payments were forced to do so by external events. And while this shift may have been initiated by hygiene and health-related concerns, what will ultimately make it stick is the growing expectation among consumers for a quick and convenient payment experience.

“As digital payment use exploded during the pandemic, one of the most common questions we got asked at Marqeta was whether this was a lasting phenomenon or a moment in time,” said Vidya Peters, Marqeta’s chief operating officer. “What our report suggests is that new consumer preferences have become entrenched over the last two years, with a slow build of new adoption giving way to a step change in payments. The cost for any company falling behind the expectation curve for consumer experiences may be steep.”

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