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Survey: Demand for PayPal mobile wallet trumps Google, Apple

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Close to half of U.S. consumers are interested in using mobile wallet services, according to a new survey conducted by financial services consulting firm Carlisle & Gallagher.

Among the 605 Americans surveyed in April, 48 percent said they are interested in a mobile wallet. Carlisle & Gallagher divides this group into two segments: Techno Shoppers (27 percent of all respondents), defined as consumers attracted to mobile wallet shopping and social features, and using their cards to make the best possible payment decisions, and Payment Optimizers (21 percent), defined as consumers interested in making the best payment choices based on their financial situation, loyalty benefits and account management.

Eight of 10 consumers interested in mobile wallet services said they would use PayPal as their wallet service provider; six in 10 would use Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and another six in 10 would use Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which presently does not offer a wallet solution. Five in ten Techno Shoppers would prefer to use as their mobile wallet provider PayPal over their primary bank--three in 10 would prefer to use Google, and two in 10 favor Apple.

Carlisle & Gallagher add that eight in 10 respondents would consider using PayPal if it offered mobile banking services. Six in 10 would consider using Google, and another six in 10 would consider Apple.

"The competitive threat from new entrants is real," said Carlisle & Gallagher Card & Payments Practice Leader Peter Olynick. "Consumers are open to considering alternatives to their primary banks to provide mobile wallets and even core banking services. People have already slowed their use of cash and checks in favor of credit and debit cards. Within five years, half of today's smartphone users will be using their phones and mobile wallets as their preferred method for payments. These customers will be using better tools to help them optimize transaction choices. Banks need to proactively consider how their products will stay 'top of wallet' in the new mobile wallet world."

The study adds that consumers place significant value on offers and incentives ranging from lower interest rates and cash-back rewards to discounts and loyalty programs. Sixty-five percent of respondents cited the flexibility to make better payment choices--e.g., maximizing loyalty programs and minimizing interest payments--as the most valued mobile wallet service. In addition, 82 percent of Techno Shoppers said mobile wallets make shopping easier and 62 percent believe m-commerce makes shopping more fun.

eBay-owned PayPal launched mobile wallet consumer trials in early 2012 across about 50 Home Depot stores. Within weeks the initiative expanded to all 2,200 Home Depot locations in the U.S.; late last month, PayPal rolled out the service to 15 additional nationwide retail chains. The rival Google Wallet, introduced in May 2011, is tied to MasterCard's PayPass network, which spans more than 300,000 merchant terminals worldwide.

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