Mobile wallet awareness growing in Canada: Study

August 31, 2012  |  Chris Powell  |  Comments

The old “I left my wallet at home” excuse could soon be a thing of the past.

New research from Toronto-based Solutions Research Group, conducted as part of its ongoing “Digital Life Canada” study, finds that awareness of the so-called “mobile wallet” is increasing among a key constituency: users of mobile banking apps.

According to SRG, this group represents an estimated 36% of Canadian smartphone users, or approximately four million people.

The SRG study finds that 56% of mobile banking app users are aware of an upcoming service that would allow them to pay for goods and services with a wave of their phone at checkout, up from 47% a year ago.

SRG theorizes that the increase in awareness could be due to buzz about NFC-chip enabled devices. Recent reports, for example, have suggested that Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5 will be equipped with the device, which enables users to carry out transactions or exchange information with a simple tap or wave.

According to SRG, awareness of the mobile wallet translates into usage intent. Convenience, speed and the allure of having to carry fewer things with them were cited as the primary reason among 63% of respondents.

An oft-expressed sentiment by survey respondents was: “Who doesn’t have their phone glued to them all the time – much easier than carrying a wallet.” However, security continues to be an underlying concern, with many respondents wanting to know more about a mobile wallet before committing to its use.

Mobile app users, however, have demonstrated they are comfortable using mobile banking apps, with 67% saying they are “very” satisfied with the banking app they use most – up from 63% a year ago. SRG says this may translate to a willingness to hear about other ways their mobile device can improve their financial lives.

When asked about possible mobile wallet suppliers, chartered banks such as TD and BMO scored highest on a consumer trust level with a score of 7.5 out of 10. They were followed closely by credit card companies like American Express, Visa and MasterCard at seven; mobile phone manufacturers like Apple and RIM at 6.7 and retailers like Canadian Tire, Home Depot and Walmart at 6.5.

Wireless providers like Rogers, Bell and Telus scored 6.4, but have an advantage over other groups because of their pre-existing relationship with wireless companies, says SRG. “In a race for market share that has only just begun,” says SRG, “there is no odds-on favourite.”

The results are based on a survey of 1,000 Canadian consumers conducted in spring 2012 as part of the quarterly “Digital Life Canada” tracking study.

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