Bank of America is betting on consumers’ future intentions over their current actions when it comes to building its digital wallet strategy.
About 40% of U.S. adults say they'll use a smartphone to make an in-store purchase, but only about 10% are actually doing so, and those figures haven’t changed dramatically over the last year, according to new data from a consumer survey BofA sponsored.
In its third annual look at how mobile devices affect consumer behavior, BofA found that 8% of all consumers said they already are using mobile wallets for transactions at the point of sale, up from 5% last year. The numbers were higher among millennials—13% of adults 18 to 24 said they’re adept at using mobile wallets to check out in stores, up from 8% last year, BofA said in a June 21 press release.
Mobile wallets still rank far behind more traditional methods of making payments, including repaying a friend, the survey suggests. More than half, or 57% of respondents said they would prefer to pay someone back with cash, while 40% would opt first to pay by check and 28% said they would use a mobile wallet or mobile banking app to repay someone. Braun Research conducted the telephone survey on behalf of BofA among 1,004 consumers March 29-April 12, 2016.
But BofA is betting heavily on the idea that consumers eventually will use mobile wallets for more routine activities, like getting cash from ATMs.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based financial institution recently began adding NFC capabilities to its ATMs to enable users to withdraw cash using Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay, in what observers say is the largest deployment so far of cardless ATMs by a major financial institution.
“We’re making a big commitment to technology enabling consumers to get cash from ATMs using any one of the most popular mobile wallets,” said a BofA spokesperson.
About 2,400 BofA ATMS are NFC-enabled, and the company plans to have 8,000 of its machines ready to dispense cash via mobile wallets by the end of this year.
BofA data show consumers increasingly rely on their smartphones to conduct transactions, with 26% of respondents saying they’re using a mobile app to send money to others, up from 16% who said so last year.
Michelle Moore, head of digital banking at BofA, said the overall popularity of smartphones for mobile banking activities is compelling the company’s investment in NFC-based ATMs.
“Now in addition to using digital wallets for purchases, customers can use them to get cash at the ATM,” she said in a press release.