Smartphone Payments Expected to Replace Cards, Cash: Survey

Though few consumers “very interested” in getting on board

NEW YORK -- The majority of Americans believe smartphone payments will eventually replace both payment card (66%) and cash (61%) transactions for a majority of purchases in coming years, according to the results of a Harris Poll of 2,383 adults.

A combined 13% of Americans indicate that they have either paid in this manner themselves (4%) or witnessed it firsthand (8%), with predictably stronger experience levels among smartphone owners (18%, 7% and 11%, respectively).

While many Americans perceive this change in payment culture as a likely eventuality, considerably fewer appear to perceive it as imminent: Although the aforementioned two-thirds (66%) believe smartphone payments will eventually replace payment-card transactions, considerably fewer (32%) believe this will happen in less than five years. Similarly, fewer than half of those Americans who believe smartphone payments will eventually replace cash for the majority of purchases (61%) believe this will happen in less than five years (26%).

And despite the majority of Americans indicating that such changes to our collective purchasing habits are ahead, few display a strong interest in replacing their own cash or card transactions with the tap of a smartphone.

Although more than one-fourth of Americans (27%) and nearly half of smartphone users (44%) report overall interest in being able to use their smartphone to process in-person payments, far fewer specify being “very interested” in doing so (8% and 16%, respectively). Nonetheless, it is worth noting that overall interest levels point to some segments that are most interested overall in this ability:

*Echo Boomers (40%) and Gen Xers (34%), perhaps predictably, display considerably stronger interest in doing so than either Baby Boomers (18%) or Matures (7%).

*Men (32%) are significantly more interested in this technology than women (22%).

*Those in households with children (38%) also display considerably stronger overall interest than those in households with none (22%).

Among those who indicate being either “not very” or “not at all” interested in being able to make smartphone payments, security is a clear factor: half (51%) say they don't want to store sensitive information on their phone, and four in 10 (40%) don't want to transmit sensitive information to a merchant's device.

Click here to read more from this Harris Poll.