Mobile payments: key trends for 2015

The mobile payments industry is growing so fast that it’s hard for business analysts to keep up. Some estimates set the global value of mobile transactions at USD 1.5 trillion by 2017, others predict that the Chinese market alone will be worth USD 1.4 trillion by next year. To help you navigate key mobile payment trends, we’ve selected the highlights from the just-released Monitise Insights report, The Mobile Money Landscape.

Global trends

When it comes to readiness, Singapore, the US and Canada are considered to be best prepared for the rollout of mobile payments. 81% of Americans are either interested in or have already begun to use mobile payments, but for the majority (56%) , this is contingent on the service being free. When it comes to mobile wallets, uptake is mixed: of those that are aware of their existence, 64% have opted for PayPal digital wallets, compared to less than a fifth of its Google equivalent.

PayPal is also a popular provider in the UK, with 64% having used it to make at least one mobile payment from their phones or tablets. Every card issuer in the UK now offers contactless cards, helping to normalise contactless payments – 340 million of which were made in Western Europe last year. NFC-enabled phones are fast following suit, with 1.2 billion devices expected to be shipped in 2018.


Customers who own both smartphones and tablets are likely to use the two devices “in tandem” when it comes to researching and making purchases, says the report. In the UK and the US, most purchases are made in the late evening. The popularity of m-commerce varies widely across the world, from enthusiastic uptake in China and India, where a respective 18% and 15% of people buy products on mobile devices, through to almost no uptake in France (2%), Italy (4%), Canada (4%) and Sweden (5%).

In the US, mobile payments makes up less than a tenth of all e-commerce. In the UK, some retailers have reported half of their internet traffic coming from mobile devices, but actual purchases still remain relatively low. Given that 48% of people who have never made a purchase on their mobile say that the screen was too small, and a further 14% say that they could not see all the product information, the growing popularity of smartphones may lead to more sales conversions.

Mobile banking

When it comes to the countries that are keenest on mobile banking, the results may surprise you. In Turkey, almost half of all internet users also use mobile banking services, compared to just a quarter in France and 37% across Europe as a whole. Emerging markets are embracing developments in this area the most, with 97% of those polled in China and 90% of Brazilians wanting to increase their mobile banking interactions. In the US and the UK, the numbers are 53% and 50% respectively.

Nearly half of Americans currently use their smartphone to access banking information, whether through a mobile banking app or their website – but the largest proportion (74%) use a computer and 65% still prefer to visit a branch. In the UK, 50% of smartphone owners and 57% of those who own a smartphone and a tablet tap into mobile banking, and 37% of people who do not use mobile banking say that this is because they don’t own a smartphone. With device usage increasing (a fifth of Brits now owning a tablet and half of 13 year olds have a smartphone) it seems likely that the numbers are set to rise. Three banks, Lloyds, Barclays and Natwest, currently dominate the largest share of the UK mobile banking market, at around a tenth apiece.

The report also highlights the as-yet-untapped potential of internet giants like Google to set up alternatives to traditional banks. “53% don’t think their bank is any different from other banks. 73% would be more excited about a new financial services offering from Google/Amazon/Apple/Square/Paypal than their own bank – 33% believe soon they won’t need a bank at all,” claimed the Millenial Disruption Index in February this year.

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