Contactless Mobile Wallets to Reach 200 Million by 2016 as Apple Pay Boosts Awareness

Many banks are partnering with Visa or MasterCard to implement contactless wallets using a cloud-based secure element

Hampshire, UKSept. 8, 2015—A new study from Juniper Research found that the number of mobile wallets using contactless technology is expected to reach 200 million by the end of 2016, representing growth of more than 100 percent from the end of 2014.

The research found that, while historic growth of mobile wallet usage was driven by person-to-person (P2P) services for the unbanked in developing markets, the launch of Apple Pay prompted a hive of activity in the contactless arena. It argued that with public awareness of contactless heightened in the wake of Apple’s launch, competing services such as Samsung Pay and the forthcoming Android Pay would no longer need to seed the market.

Additionally, the research—Mobile Wallets: Contactless & Remote Payments 2015-2020—found that numerous banks were partnering with Visa or MasterCard to implement own-brand contactless wallets using a cloud-based secure element.

However, the research observed that the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) Consortium postponed the launch of its own contactless service, with several retailer partners now abandoning their closed-shop stance towards Apple Pay. Furthermore, the consortium did not agree to terms with any leading card holders, citing the high transaction fees as a stumbling block.

According to research author Dr. Windsor Holden: “By the time MCX launches, U.S. consumers will have a choice of perhaps half a dozen other mobile wallet solutions, not to mention the fact that an increasing number will also have contactless payment cards. In addition, the reliance on store brand payment cards could ultimately be a fatal flaw for the service.’

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Wallets run by mobile operator consortia continue to fare badly, with the UK’s Weve dropping its planned wallet and Softcard folding in the U.S.
  • In developing markets, there was a significant upscaling of wallet usage for savings and loan disbursements, while more than 100 million are now in use for micro-insurance.