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Mobile Payments & Digital Currencies Gain Popularity

A survey of 4,000 consumers conducted by Accenture found that millennials and high net worth individuals are the most likely to embrace digital payments.

More consumers -- specifically millennials and high-income individuals -- are using mobile payments as well as digital currencies, according to an Accenture survey of 4,000 consumers in the US and Canada. Some 40% of those polled reported having used their smartphones to make a payment at a merchant location, up from 16% in a similar Accenture survey from two years ago. Further, the study found that 8% of respondents used digital currencies to complete a payment transaction at least weekly, and 18% expect they will use digital currencies at least weekly by 2020.

Millennials and high-income consumers -- defined by the study as those with a household income of at least $150,000 -- are the most avid adopters of mobile payments, with 52% of millennials and 55% of high-income consumers having used their phones as a mobile payment device, the study found. Overall, 66% of respondents said they make cash transactions, 59% use debit cards, and 55% use credit cards at least weekly to make a payment, according to Accenture.

When asked how they anticipate using these payment instruments in 2020, the respondents indicated they would decrease usage of cash, debit cards, and credit cards as payment instruments at least weekly by 12 percentage points, 6 percentage points, and 3 percentage points, respectively. Of those consumers who have never used their mobile phone as a payment device in a merchant location, the two most cited reasons preventing them from doing so were security concerns and privacy concerns.

Regarding digital currencies, 8% of those polled said they use digital currencies to complete a payment transaction at least weekly, and 18% expect they will use digital currencies at least weekly by 2020. The primary reasons cited for embracing digital currencies is for protection of personal identity (46%) and lower transaction costs (43%).

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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