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More than 25 percent of U.S. smartphone owners use payment apps at least once a month, according to recent data compiled by Dallas-based research and consulting firm Parks Associates.

The firm said more than three million retailers now accept popular payment services like Apple Pay and Android Pay, but its data indicates consumers currently prefer retailer-specific applications.

"To be frank, I think this has a lot to do with consumers' loyalty to certain brands," said Harry Wang, director of mobile and health research with Parks Associates. "If you have a strong loyalty to the brands, you're more likely to shop at the place and you want to experience the brand in every angle possible, and the payment is part of the experience. Especially if a retailer includes loyalty cards and discounts to consumers that provide more incentive to use those applications."

From the article "Experts: Wal-Mart Pay Needs Perks" by Robbie Neiswanger.

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