Australia’s mobile wallet tipping point

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As the popularity of contactless card and smartphone payments increases, new research from CommBank reveals mobile wallet is expected to replace physical wallets in Australia by 2021.

According to the survey, the majority (73%) of Australians expect mobile wallets to replace

An image of a phone as a mobile wallet with cards and coins
Mobile wallets will have replaced their leather counterparts in Australia by 2021, research commissioned by CommBank suggests.

their entire physical wallet in the next seven and half years and cash and card payments within six and half years.

From paying for the bus or buying a coffee, to redeeming special offers or purchasing tickets to a gig, one in two (50%) agree the majority of payments will be made via a mobile wallet in the near future. Although, 77% believe there will always be a need for cash.

“Consumers are ‘going mobile’ and they are clearly showing their preference for the convenience and simplicity of transacting on mobile anywhere, anytime and on any device. We expect this trend will only continue,” says Michael Harte, Chief Information Officer, Commonwealth Bank.

Angus Sullivan, Executive General Manager Cards, Payments, Analytics & Retail Strategy, Commonwealth Bank, says innovations like Tap & Pay smartphone payments are driving the mobile wallet revolution.

“While there may always be a need for different payment methods, such as cash for emergencies and cards for travel, it’s clear the mobile wallet is set to become a part of many Australians’ everyday lives. As a nation, we’ve been at the forefront of the contactless payments revolution and Australians appear keen to lead the world into the new era of the mobile wallet.” Sullivan comments.

Future functionality of mobile wallets

Interestingly, the survey found it’s not just payments and mobile banking that consumers will expect from a mobile wallet. Accessing loyalty schemes (55%), redeeming coupons (45%), storing receipts (44%) and getting around on public transport (43%) are just some of the most useful features expected of mobile wallets in the future.

Other features which would make Australians use mobile wallets include:

  • Consolidate physical cards, such as loyalty or membership cards (34%);
  • Store tickets for events (28%);
  • So they don’t have to worry about carrying cash (25%);
  • Receive personalised offers, coupons and discounts (24%);
  • Replace the need to carry a physical wallet (21%); and
  • Store personal identification (21%).

“Mobile banking and payments are clearly going to be the primary functions of mobile wallets, at least in the short-term. However, it’s clear in many day-to-day instances consumers expect their smartphone to not only replace cash and cards, but also their bus ticket or loyalty and membership cards,” continues Sullivan.

Frustrations with physical wallets

It’s not just technology innovations driving mobile wallet adoption, many Australians are also becoming increasingly frustrated with their physical wallet. Everything, from being too bulky to simply remembering to pick it up on the way out, seems to be driving us towards replacing our traditional wallets.

Some of the most common frustrations with a physical wallet include:

  • Forgetting to take it out (94%);
  • Forgetting to put specific items in a wallet (88%);
  • Having to carry a bulky wallet (77%);
  • Having to carry too many cards in a wallet (50%); and
  • Not being able to find the right card in a wallet (48%).
  • Trust key to consumer adoption
  • For most Australians, trust and confidence in the security of mobile wallets will be key to adoption.

According to the survey, banks and financial institutions are by far the most trusted providers of mobile wallets (44%), ahead of the government (16%), technology companies (14%), such as Google and Apple, and retail stores (10%).

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