Pandemic Drives Adoption of Contactless Payments

By 2025, half of all U.S. smartphone users are expected to pay with their phones at point-of-sale.

April 07, 2021

Contactless Payment

NEW YORK—The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled adoption of contactless mobile payments, TechCrunch reports. Contactless mobile payment usage is predicted to surpass half of all smartphone users by 2025, according to an eMarketer report.

Last year, eMarketer found that use of contactless mobile payments skyrocketed, with in-store mobile payments growing 29% in the United States. In 2020, 92.3 million U.S. consumers age 14 and older paid with proximity-based mobile payments at least once during a six-month period. That number is projected to jump to more than 101 million in 2021.

In 2020, Gen Z and millennials were along the biggest demographic group to switch to mobile wallets. Until last year, most of the mobile wallet growth had been in Asian markets. However, the U.S. is now the second-biggest market with $465.1 billion worth of mobile payment transactions in 2020, a number that’s on track to hit $698 billion in 2023.

The pandemic also pressed retailers to adapt checkout for mobile payments. A 2020 mid-year survey by the National Retail Federation and Forrester showed no-touch payments accelerated 69% for retailers. That survey also found that 67% of retailers now accepted contactless payments, including contactless cards and via mobile wallets.

EMarketer also reported that with the increase in mobile wallet usage, the average yearly spend per user has also risen. The company forecasted a 23.6% jump from $1,973.70 in 2020 to $2,439.68 in 2021 to more than $3,000 by 2023.

To learn more about contactless mobile payments, be sure to read “What’s Next for Mobile Pay” in NACS Magazine.

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