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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 26, 2015 • Issue 15:01:02

Education key to mobile adoption

According to an online survey of U.S. adults conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Verifone Inc. during the 2014 holiday shopping season, consumer education remains critical to widespread adoption of mobile payment services among mobile device users.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed felt it was important for more stores to install devices that would enable consumers to pay with smartphones, indicating that receptivity to payments using mobile devices is gaining momentum.

Receptivity to mobile payment services was even greater among younger consumers. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed in the 40 and under age segment agreed that more stores should install devices that enable mobile payments.

Time to prime the market

Nearly half of those polled admitted to being unfamiliar with mobile technologies such as near field communication (NFC) and mobile wallets. Similarly, about half of respondents said they were unlikely to shop in stores that deployed in-store tracking technology to provide offers on mobile devices. Lack of familiarity and privacy concerns will need to be addressed in consumer education efforts, the report indicated.

"This is a classic case of new technologies needing to reach critical mass before consumers come on board," said Joe Mach, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Vertical Solutions at Verifone. "Today, in 2015, the pieces are fitting into place – what’s essential now is for the industries driving the mobile payment revolution, from finance to retail to systems providers, to educate consumers on mobile payment’s benefits and easy use."

Payment technology reality check

Researches also delved into data breach awareness and current payment preferences among respondents. Highlights among these findings include the following:

  • 63 percent of respondents prefer to use credit/debit cards as the primary method of payment.
  • 6 percent favor alternative payment methods such as PayPal.
  • 4 percent prefer mobile wallet payments as the primary payment option.
  • 54 percent are familiar with EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip-enabled card technology; of this group, 39 percent use EMV cards as a primary or secondary method of payment.
  • 56 percent said they would continue shopping at stores where data breaches had occurred.
  • 44 percent were less likely to continue shopping at stores where breaches have been reported.

Insights from early adopter segment

Early adopters cited unique advantages that drew them to making the switch from traditional forms of payment to mobile payments. These advantages can be accentuated to gain greater buy-in from other consumer segments.

Mobile payment advantages cited by early adopters include:

  • Speed of payment: 34 percent
  • Freedom from carrying a physical wallet: 29 percent
  • Immediate access to mobile offers: 24 percent
  • Ease of spending tracking: 23 percent
  • Safety of personal data: 18 percent

Consistent with other studies pertaining to mobile payments were the findings that consumer doubts about mobile data security persist across all market segments. Negative perceptions have thwarted adoption thus far, even among early adopters where 82 percent of respondents said they did not feel personal data was secure when executing mobile payments, the report noted.

"The survey data illustrate a typical early adopter scenario – high awareness among younger consumers, which is the essential precursor to mass market adoption," Mach said. "The mobile payment industry is an industry on the cusp, with so many components essential to success, such as EMV and Apple Pay, coming into focus for the first time, and delivering real value to the end user."

Apple Pay and similar form factors could help overcome the security obstacle, in part, as consumers begin to feel more comfortable and engaged in the mobile payment process. Another positive sign that support for mobile payments is growing was that 84 percent of all respondents surveyed said they would prefer to use their smartphones to pay for small to midsize purchases at stores, such as a cup of coffee or pair of jeans. end of article

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