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Insight of the Day: What's driving mobile-wallet spending at high and low values

The usage of mobile wallets in the United States has been steadily increasing since 2019, primarily due to factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the enhanced utility and security features offered by this payment method. According to Fiserv's SpendTrend report, mobile wallet spending has risen from 0.6% of all U.S. card spending in 2019 to 7.2% in the first two months of 2024.

Interestingly, alongside this growth, there has been a decrease in the average value of transactions, indicating a rise in the number of small-value payments. The average ticket size for mobile wallet transactions has declined from $39.58 in 2021 to $33.51 in early 2024.

In terms of usage patterns, mobile wallets are gaining traction in the restaurant sector, particularly in fast casual and quick-serve establishments. Fiserv estimates that mobile wallets account for 11.6% of payments in restaurants, with an average ticket size of $15.63. Additionally, mobile wallets are becoming increasingly popular for gas purchases, where the average ticket size is $17.

Consumer preference is the primary driver behind mobile wallet payment patterns, with transaction size not being a concern for merchants. Apple Pay, in particular, has witnessed significant growth, appealing to both affluent consumers and those seeking cashback rewards and buy now/pay later options.

The trend of mobile wallet adoption is not unique to the United States but is also observed in Canada, where in-store mobile wallet payments have seen a significant increase in volume and value. Innovation in mobile payment offerings, such as sports team apps integrating payment functionalities, and the addition of features like digital ID and key storage, are further driving the expansion of mobile wallets' functionality and usage.

Overall, the integration of mobile wallets into everyday transactions is reshaping the payment landscape, offering convenience, security, and a range of additional benefits to consumers and businesses alike.

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