Europe embraces mobile payments, but isn't ready to oust cash

Jan. 4, 2017

Across Europe, consumer adoption of mobile banking, shopping and payments is gaining momentum, according to a new study by the European financial institution ING.

The report, "ING International Survey – Mobile Banking 2016," shows that 47 percent of mobile device users in Europe now bank by mobile, compared with 41 percent in 2015. ING expects this number to grow an additional 16 percent this year, a press release said.

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Countries leading the way in mobile banking adoption are Austria (up 13 percent), Luxembourg (up 12 percent) and the Czech Republic (up 10 percent).

Countries where large numbers of people already bank by mobile are adding market share more slowly and could be approaching peak mobility, ING speculated. For instance, in the U.S., share remained fairly stagnant from 2015 to 2016, at 42 percent.

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Mobile payments also have gained ground in Europe, according to the study. The share of Europeans who have used mobile payments rose to 40 percent in 2016, up from 33 percent in 2015. And 56 percent of mobile device owners say they expect they will "certainly" or "probably" use a mobile payment app in the next 12 months.

The key reasons for choosing mobile payment over another method (e.g., cash or internet) are speed (53 percent) and ease (45 percent). The ability to use it in different locations (34 percent) also ranks highly.

Shopping by mobile device has also made notable gains in 2016, the report reveals. A 66 percent share of Europeans are now shopping on their smartphone or tablet, up from 58 percent in 2015.

The report finds that the march from cash to mobile varies greatly across Europe: Roughly two-thirds of survey respondents in Turkey and Italy said they use physical cash much less than they did 12 months ago.

However, in Austria and Germany, less than one-third of survey participants expressed a willingness to kick cash to the curb. Respondents in the France and the U.K. (53 percent and 52 percent, respectively) hover at or near the European average (53 percent) for reducing cash use.

While Europeans are embracing contactless payments, they are not entirely convinced of its trustworthiness; Less than half (46 percent) of respondents voiced confidence in  the security of the technology.

"The mobile revolution is not a fad," Ian Bright, senior economist at ING, said in a press release. "People not only want to use their mobile phone in their everyday life to manage their money but many also reckon it helps them manage their money better."

The ING International Survey — Mobile Banking 2016 was conducted March 18–April 6 by Ipsos via online polling of nearly 15,000 individuals in 15 nations: Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. 


Topics: ATM & Mobile Banking, Mobile Payments, Trends / Statistics


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