How Are You Paying for Your Meal? Probably Not a Phone

Mobile payments for fast food more common in Asia-Pacific, study finds

Author: Rimma Kats

October 9, 2017

Mobile payments are a fairly popular way of picking up fast-food checks in North America, but the mobile option is far more common in other parts of the world.

According to a Q2 2017 poll from GlobalWebIndex, more than one-quarter of internet users in North America who regularly dine at fast-food restaurants said they had paid for a meal using a mobile payment service in the past month.

That trailed other regions surveyed. The practice was most common in Asia-Pacific, where over half the respondents said they had used a mobile payment service for a fast-food meal.

The finding dovetails with other data reflecting the widespread use of mobile payments in Asia-Pacific, and relatively slow uptake in the US.

According to data from the People’s Bank of China (PBC), mobile payment transactions in that country grew at roughly triple the rate of online transactions last year. Mobile payment transactions smashed records in China during last year’s Singles Day, spurring a 42% quarter-over-quarter increase in payments, per Analysys International Enfodesk.

In the US, while the use of mobile payments is growing, it’s still a minority behavior. eMarketer estimates only 23.0% of US smartphone users will use mobile payments this year. That level isn’t expected to top 30% until 2021.