U.S. NFC Mobile Payments Penetration Doubles, But Is Still Low

NFC mobile payments penetration jumped to 7 per cent in 2012, up from 3 per cent in 2011.

According to Statista, there was an estimated 7.9 million U.S. proximity mobile payments users in 2012, up from 2.7 million a year prior. According to comScore, the number of U.S. smartphone users grew from 97.9 million at the end of 2011 to 121.3 million in October, the most recent number available.

While that jump in penetration is impressive, it is still low in the big picture and does not necessarily indicate that the dream of the “mobile wallet” is any closer.

As we discuss in our mobile payments report, the key to mobile payments technology is backwards compatibility: piggy backing on existing technologies consumers already use i.e. credit cards.

The success of NFC payments requires massive cooperation between retailers, credit card companies, and the mobile ecosystem, which we don’t think is feasible—and that’s just to make it viable.

Square, on the other hand, doesn’t even require consumers to own a smartphone to make a payment at their local coffee shop, just a credit card.


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