A study report published by trade body Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) has revealed that nearly one fifth of global consumers (18%) have made an in-store mobile payment in the past six months, representing a surge of 10% from the same period in 2014.

The study, supported by Wirecard, surveyed 6,000 consumers in nine countries about their usage and attitudes towards mobile payments. Apple Pay – now available in 13 countries – was one obvious reason for this upturn, the authors of the report noted.

Chinese customers led the way with 38% of them having made an in-store mobile payment – nearly double the global average.

The study also revealed that 78% of respondents made a purchase by mobile in the previous six months, up 4% on the figure for 2014. 61% of the respondents said they now use their mobile phone to bank, with 44% using apps to check their balances (28% in 2014), and 29% paying bills from the handset (against 20% in 2014).

The research points to extensive migration of banking in many mature markets from the high street to apps. In fact, 28% the respondents said they prefer branches against 26% for apps.

Christian von Hammel-Bonten, executive vice president product strategy at Wirecard, said: “Today, consumers use smartphones to manage their entire lives: to play games, chat, check their finances, purchase products and order services.

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“Chinese users are at the forefront of this ongoing trend. This comes at no surprise as we enable our customers from the beginning to benefit from this trend with our financial solutions. Yet the report shows also the whole ecosystem still needs to improve and that is what we are working on with MEF and its partners.”

MEF CEO Rimma Perelmuter said: “The adoption of mobile money continues to advance. In developed markets, mobile payments and banking are driving a revolution in convenience. In growth markets, they are giving millions of people access to financial services for the first time.

“It’s important that the industry builds on this momentum. The research shows we can still do more to improve payment flows, improve consumer trust in mobile money to allay privacy and security concerns. But overall, the news is good: mobile remains the key driver of online commerce.”