Friday, August 21, 2015

Apple Pay usage dips; banks, take note

In a new report from, retail data analytics firm InfoScout is reporting Apple Pay usage has been on a steady decline since March 2015. Of the nearly 40 percent of consumers surveyed who said they had used Apple Pay to complete a transaction, only 23 percent still said “yes” three months later. What’s more, Apple Pay saw a 15 percent dip in committed users – down to 33 percent as of June 2015.

While many are dumbfounded, Apple’s steady decline is really not that surprising. What it instead reveals is the effectiveness of organic user growth over traditional  marketing – a critical, and potentially crippling, difference to successful mobile payments adoption. As the hype surrounding the launch of the iPhone 6 has dwindled, it appears Apple Pay usage has as well.
So why is this happening?  The payment experience alone of Apple Pay is too different from anything the consumer previously used for them to remember –or even care – about making it a habit unless they are constantly reminded to. In the iOS eco-system Apple is not flexible to mobile banking, which has forced all bank cards into an aggregated Passbook wallet that is very out of the context of the users’ typical banking application.

Unfortunately for the banks who are now locked into Apple Pay, the technology will continue to grow at a much slower rate than what they are paying for. They do, however, still have a chance to turn things around and take back control from Android Pay by deploying their own mobile payment solution.
Android Pay is deployed on only 5 percent of all Android devices. Bank product managers are faced with two distinct choices as a result: encourage mobile users to download and access their credit card accounts through Android Pay, or modify their existing banking app with their own tap-and-pay feature.
With option two, the conversion rate and lack of additional steps seems like a more practical and favorable approach. More importantly, banks don’t have to worry about competing with another application to keep users engaged and coming back. With option two, banks can take a low-cost approach and organically grow payments into their business.
Like Apple Pay, banks can spend as much money on promoting Android Pay but at what cost? The reality is tap-and-go payments will not see widespread consumer adoption without steady, frequent exposure via a familiar user experience. An initial high-profile launch or big marketing budget will only go so far.
For contactless payments to endure, banks are better off using their own apps to court users. They already employed this approach with the “remote check cashing feature” and experienced widespread success by continuously making users aware they could perform digital check deposits until the practice became second nature. A bank that deploys their own solution within their own app faces far fewer friction points than a bank that leans on Android Pay, Apple Pay or any other third party.
In the long run mobile payment adoption rates will improve over time. But ultimately it is the banks who have the most to gain by fostering consumer relationships and acceptance. While the opportunity may have passed for Apple Pay, it’s not too late for financial institutions to take back control of their tap-and-go experience on their own terms.

What are your thoughts on Apple Pay’s drop in usage? Do you agree, or disagree that things can be different for Android Pay?