Reality check: Consumers not ready for mobile wallets
Mcommerce, mobile wallets, Near Field Communication – buzzwords the travel industry has been throwing around with increasing enthusiasm in recent years.
With Apple’s Passbook starting to gain some momentum (at least in terms of providers integrating with it) and mobile ticketing likely to become a norm rather than unique feature, perhaps the industry would probably expect consumers to really embrace the technology.
The reality is perhaps somewhat different.
An independent study by UK firm ICM Research of over 2,000 consumers found a lukewarm attitude to use of mobile wallets and 2013 is unlikely to be the year where mass adoption finally kicks in.
The problem is not one of awareness, ICM’s study found that 80% know that some mobile devices can be used as mobile wallets, it’s just that only 8% are currently doing so.
A third (34%), however, said they would consider using their mobile to make payments, collect vouchers, buy event tickets or for transport.
It appears that one of the drivers to wider adoption could be by offering incentives, with over half (51%) claiming they would consider using a mobile in such a way if given a discount on services.
Chicken and egg – especially when it comes to security, mirroring the same concerns many consumers had back in the early days of the web.
This centres on accepting PIN numbers, passwords and entering credit card details, with ICM claiming it goes “against the somewhat casual ‘wave and pay’ ethos of contact-less paying highlight that there’s more work to be done to promote mobile wallet than simply increasing smartphone penetration”.
But another key finding:
“Consumers are ready to accept a range of security measures to gain confidence in Mobile Wallet – including a bank/mobile provider guaranteeing any financial losses (56%), to entering a PIN on every transaction (43%) or after a number of transactions (37%), being able to shut the mobile down remotely (40%), setting a daily cap on spending (34%), facial recognition (33%) and voice recognition (24%) on the mobile handset.”
With regards to NFC, hardware appears to be a stumbling block here, with consumers reluctant to upgrade to fully functioning, NFC-enabled phones when tied to lengthy contracts with providers.
Jamie Belnikoff, associate director at ICM Research, says:
“Google Wallet, Apple’s Passbook, Oyster cards and other transport passes, as well as contactless ‘wave and pay’ cards are stepping stones that will encourage early adopters to convert to mobile wallet.
“The market needs to combine incentives with added security measures and communicate them widely if it is to build consumer confidence that will help drive the adoption of mobile wallet.”
NB: Mobile wallet image via Shutterstock.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.