Phone hacking fears dominate consumers’ security concerns about new ‘mobile wallet’ payment systems and are likely to hamper UK adoption of new ‘swipe-and-pay’ smartphone systems, according to the latest research from Intersperience.
The international consumer research specialist questioned UK adults on their attitudes towards using mobile phone payment systems and found that just 17% would like to use their mobile as a wallet in future. The top concern cited by consumers was a lack of security software, with 44% citing this as their chief worry.
Intersperience’s Digital Selves project researched the views of more than 1,000 UK consumers and the results coincide with the trial of Google’ s new mobile electronic wallet system in the US ahead of an anticipated UK launch in 2012.
It revealed a mix of emotional and rational views on mobile payment security with 24% of people saying using a mobile for payment ‘feels less secure but I don’t know why’, while a further 24% believe their mobile is more likely to be stolen than their wallet.
It also showed that many consumers feel vulnerable following high profile phone hacking scandals. One respondent said: ‘After the recent phone hacking scandals it’s clear that mobiles can be hacked. I’d be worried criminals would learn to do it.’
Paul Hudson, CEO of Intersperience said: ‘There is no doubt that the phone hacking scandals have unnerved consumers. We also detected a marked rise in security concerns when people use devices with mobile internet access compared to fixed access via PCs. These beliefs will impact the pace at which UK consumers adopt mobile payment systems.’
The research showed that just 8% of adults currently use their mobile phone for payment although this is expected to increase as 21% said they would like to use their phone to buy something in future.
Digital Selves also looked at consumers’ willingness to use PCs and mobiles to pay for goods or services ordered online. It found that while 11% of people would hesitate to make a purchase via PC, this more than trebled to 37% when it came to the proportion who would hesitate to buy via a mobile phone.
Hudson commented: ‘There is a common but not necessarily logical perception that as your internet link becomes ‘untethered’ your information is automatically less secure. The belief stems from the context of mobile usage which is generally when you are on the move in public places, although in reality there are far higher instances of security breaches over PCs than mobiles.’
The younger generation emerged as the keenest future fans of mobile commerce as one in three (33%) said they would like to use their mobiles to buy in future. Under 18s are also keener on mobile wallets or payment systems, with 25% happy to use one instead of a traditional payment method.
Hudson said: ‘Today’s adults may be adopting a cautious stance on mobile payments but we expect the next generation to be more enthusiastic. Digital Natives will be in the vanguard of mobile commerce.’