Mobile payments have been slow to gain traction, but they're taking a variety of forms.

The mobile wallet, as we noted in May, has been slow to gain traction in the U.S., although that may change as Apple and other key players show greater interest. But among consumers who use mobile payment technology, the habit is a popular one, according to Nielsen’s Q2 2014 Mobile Wallet Report. Some 40 percent of mobile wallet users say mobile is now their primary mode of payment. Not surprisingly, most of these mobile wallet fans are young (55 percent are 18-34), but they span income levels.

Data point_07.14.14

As this Nielsen chart shows, mobile payments take an array of forms. With a smartphone, the most common method is to display a QR code or barcode that cashiers can scan, followed by tap-to-pay using NFC. Paying peers with services like Venmo, which almost a quarter of mobile payers are doing, helps ease social awkwardness and reduce tension around splitting a bill, Nielsen notes.

The key to converting more people to mobile wallets may be reward and loyalty programs. Nielsen reports that 69 percent of consumers would be willing to switch to mobile payment methods if they were to get discounts for doing so. The same percentage would convert if their rewards programs were integreated with their mobile wallets, allowing immediate redemption of points. Euromonitor and Yankee Group have found similar results, as Mobile Payments Today observes.