It’s official. Mobile commerce and mobile banking are now the norm across Europe. So says a new report on digital payments launched this week. Here are more details…

The mobile has replaced the MP3 player, the alarm clock, the map, the camera.

Can it replace the wallet?

For all the hype, not yet. Most consumers still use cash or card rather than phone to pay inside a shop.

But on the web, the story is very different. Mobile-based purchases (either via app or web page) are soaring.

Indeed, one year ago, 38 per cent of Europe said they had never used a mobile device to make payments and had no plans to do so. Today, that number is 12 per cent.

This is one of the headline findings of a Visa’s 2016 Digital Payments Study, which surveyed more than 36,000 consumers in 19 European countries.

It found the number of Europeans regularly using a mobile for payments has tripled since 2015 (54 per cent vs 18 per cent). Turkey has the highest proportion of active users. Indeed, there is a strong showing from Eastern Europe (Poland and Romania are in the top ten) and the Nordics (all four countries are in the top ten).

Those comfortable with mobile commerce appear very comfortable to make expensive purchases on a phone. In the UK, 43 per cent purchase high-value items such as holidays and electronics this way. They also pay household bills (42 per cent) buy bus/train tickets (41 per cent).

In parallel with payments, mobile banking is also proliferating.

Visa found that, for the first time, more than half of European respondents in all age brackets are using mobile banking. And the highest growth rate is among 55-64 year olds. Their usage is up a third in a year.

Across Europe, 41 per cent of people say they regularly check their balance online or via a banking app.

In the physical payments space, mobile is less advanced. Despite the launches of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, consumers are mostly sticking with cash and plastic.

That said, the groundwork is being laid for a migration to contactless. The study revealed that in the UK, more than half the people surveyed (58% per cent) used contactless cards this year, up from 20 per cent in 2015.

It also concluded that using contactless generally makes users more open to embracing newer payment methods. Thus 52 per cent of contactless card users said they would consider mobile payment vs 32 per cent of non-contactless card users.

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