Frequently offered by mobile network operators, mobile money payment services enable customers to send, receive, and store money using their mobile device. As of 2018, a more than a third of internet users worldwide has used a mobile payment service in the last month, with the highest usage rates occurring in the Asia Pacific region, most notably in Thailand and China. North America and the Middle East & Africa were ranked last with a 29 percent mobile payment usage rate respectively. Despite these impressive user base figures, mobile payments still lag behind other digital payment methods in terms of overall online shopper preference.
An increasing number of merchants worldwide support and plan to support a variety of mobile payment options, the most common one being mobile apps for online shopping, mobile payments at POS, and special mobile payment options such as mobile wallets. Point-of-sale mobile transactions are becoming especially popular. China is the world leader in terms of proximity mobile payment adoption as 81 percent of smartphone users in the country have made a proximity mobile payment in the past six months. In comparison, the usage rate in second-ranked Denmark amounted to 41 percent. In 2023, it is estimated that there will be 1.31 billion proximity mobile payment transaction users worldwide, up from 950 million users in 2019.
As of 2018, the most popular mobile payment methods accepted by online merchants worldwide were credit & debit cards, as well as PayPal. In 2018, 29 percent of online merchants accepted mobile wallets, up from 24 percent in 2015. The most popular mobile wallets accepted by online merchants were PayPal, Apple Pay and Visa Checkout.