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Digital Wallets Become More Popular But Struggle For Momentum At In-store Checkouts

Digital wallets continue to play an increasing role of importance in consumers’ lives. They make sending and receiving funds straightforward, although they have yet to gain broader in-store traction. Most consumers favor contactless solutions but wouldn’t necessarily choose mobile wallet options. 

Mobile Digital Wallets Gain Momentum

New research by PYMNTS signifies how important digital wallets have become for consumers. They are a go-to payment solution when paying bills or sending money to others. It is convenient to take out a smartphone to cover expenses rather than a desktop computer or laptop. In addition, there is a very competitive landscape with digital wallet solutions.

Consumers have various options for digital wallets, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, etc. There are more ways to exchange value between two parties than ever before. Some are a bit more cumbersome to use than others, but the overall experience is decent. Traditional solutions, like PayPal or Google Pay, make it easy to store credit card information to make on-demand purchases. 

Interestingly, those traditional digital wallets primarily help pay bills or send money. That is a good thing, but that usage also outpaces in-store purchases by 73%. That doesn’t mean consumers aren’t using phones or tablets to pay in stores with digital wallets, but these options are less popular. In addition, it often requires an upgraded PoS terminal, and the merchant needs to enable support for these different digital wallets. As a result, a more streamlined approach will be needed to ensure digital wallets gain more traction in this segment. 

Overall, demand for a digital wallet solution continues to increase. As a result, consumers have become more curious about this payment method and the benefits it provides. Unfortunately, the convenience of paying bills and sending funds via mobile wallets doesn’t translate to an in-store experience. That is not for lack of using the wallets, as average consumers use bill pay up to seven days a month. 

A Digital Wallet Does Much More Than Payments

The primary purpose of digital wallets is to streamline payments. Tapping a PoS terminal or scanning a QR code has become ingrained in society. However, a digital wallet is also a powerful “management” tool. Storing ID information, tickets, virtual keys, rewards, and discounts is a powerful feature of prominent digital wallet solutions. Most consumers have experimented with them over the years. 

Consumers view their digital wallet as a “personal information” storage option with optional payment support. They are less keen on taking it out to complete in-store payments. It will be interesting to see if that changes in the future. Mobile digital wallets are convenient and could make in-store checkouts much faster. However, traditional paying with a card or cash in stores will remain the more favorable option for at least one more year.