Mobility

Are people scared of mobile payments?

New data shows that consumers are not adopting forms of mobile payment. That's not good news for Apple Pay or Google Wallet.

Recently some data points came to light that shed some interesting facts on the realm of mobile payment acceptance. That data very simply points to the fact that consumers are not adopting forms of mobile payment. That's not good news for Apple Pay or Google Wallet.

The following data was released by 451 Research's recent ChangeWave Consumer Survey:

  • There was little growth in the percentage of consumers likely to make mobile payments between 2013 and 2014, increasing just 2 percentage points from 22% to 24%.
  • Secure storage of financial account information is the most important factor to consumers in a mobile payment application, with 84% citing it as critical. Ease of use is the second most important, with 66% citing it as critical, followed by widespread merchant acceptance, with 64% citing it as critical.
  • 46% of consumers who say they're unlikely to use mobile payment applications cite security issues as the primary reason why.
  • 32% off all device owners noted Apple Pay's security and privacy features make them more likely to use it over other mobile payment services, whereas just 3% said these features make them less likely to use it.
  • The percentage of consumers who feel mobile payments are more secure than credit cards jumped from 14% to 22% between March and December 2014, while the percentage that feel mobile payments are less secure than credit cards fell from 43% to 28% during the same time frame.

NOTE: The data report and findings are from a survey was fielded between December 9th-31st 2014 and consisted of 4,126 North American consumers.

At the heart of the data is a single, fear-inducing word.

Security.

With the recent hack into Anthem data, the likelihood of consumers placing any trust in a new (relatively speaking) form of payment processing is unlikely. In fact, the trust the average consumer is placing on digital payment forms is in a sad state of waning. This means, even though systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet are often more secure than the usual methods, they will be adopted less and less.

And even though the data set points to the fact that there is a growing faction of consumers that feel mobile pay options are more secure than credit cards, there are other issues preventing adoption - saturation and visibility. That issue is saturation and visibility. In my area, I am hard-pressed to find a single retail shop that accepts mobile pay forms.

When I walk into a retail location, I'll often see Google Wallet popup on my phone. When I ask about the payment form, I am answered with the likes of "Yeah ... we haven't set that up yet".

So the issues plaguing mobile payment adoption run deep and wide.

  • Lack of trust in secure digital storage
  • Ease of use
  • Lack of vendors offering digital payment options
  • Security of systems
  • Habit

Unfortunately, this points to a lack of understanding (on the part of the consumer) of how mobile payments work. Although they seem to understand that mobile pay options are more secure than credit cards ─ they don't bother adopting. If, however, they realized how much more secure mobile payment options were (over credit/debit cards) ... adoption would skyrocket. Why?

  • Less chance of card/pin theft
  • Less chance of data breach leading to identity theft

It's very interesting to see how much more faith people are willing to put in mobile payment options ─ yet don't adopt at the same rates. And unfortunately, the answer is not nearly as simple as one might think. In order for mass adoption to occur, both the consumers and retailers must make an effort.

  • If you are a consumer "afraid" of mobile payment systems ─ don't be. Once properly set up, they are much more secure and reliable than the standard credit/debit card systems (especially the current state of affairs in the United States ─ where Chip and PIN technology has yet to come to fruition).
  • If you are a retailer who has yet to enable mobile pay on your Point Of Sale system ─ do so immediately. The adoption of mobile pay cannot gain any traction without your support. If you do not allow mobile pay on your POS, mobile pay cannot be adopted.

Considering how far behind the United States is with credit card technology, mobile payment is the perfect solution to the security issue. Yes, you have to take the time to setup mobile payment. Yes retailers must enable mobile payment options, in order for this to even be viable. But once those two come together, the security gained is worth the effort on both sides of the financial fence.

Both sides of the fence is crucial. This means Apple and Google need to give retailers (especially smallers shops) incentives to "flip the switch". If Apple Pay and Google Wallet are to succeed, the options need to be present. Even the consumers that really want to get into the habit of grabbing their mobile device for payment can't do so when retail shops haven't made the option available.

What is your take? If you've not adopted mobile payment, what is preventing you from doing so? Sound off in the comments.

See also:

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox