Interest in mobile phone payments strong despite security and privacy concerns

by CXOtoday Staff    Feb 15, 2011

mobile servicesNew research by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) shows that 45 percent of the most active mobile device users would welcome the opportunity to pay for goods and services using their mobile phone, despite the fact that 73 percent expressed significant privacy and identity theft concerns.

To gain insight into consumers’ practices regarding mobile commerce, Accenture surveyed so-called “tech forward” consumers from 11 countries — early adopters of digital devices that connect to the Internet — who use at least four Internet-connected devices and at least four Internet services. The online survey queried 1,100 respondents in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, the UK and the US.

Mobile commerce – which encompasses mobile banking is poised to drive huge changes in the way we shop and pay for goods and services, believes Andy Zimmerman, director, mobility services, Accenture. “While the survey indicates there are issues to address in terms of privacy and security, these findings are good news for mobile network operators because consumers have requirements they look to operators, technology vendors, or financial institutions to address.”

Overall, 69 percent of survey respondents in Asia indicated they favored using mobile phones for most payments, led by Chinese consumers (76 percent) and India (75 percent, followed by Korea (56 percent) and Japan (47 percent). Outside of Asia, the next highest positive response was in Brazil, where 70 percent of consumers favored using mobile phones for most payments. In the U.S. and Europe, combined, however, only 26 percent of respondents favored using mobile phones for most payments.

On being asked if they had used a mobile phone to make purchases in the past six months, nearly half (47 percent) of tech forward consumers in China indicated they had, followed by Korea (42 percent) and Japan (33 percent). Depending on the geographic region, tech forwards are also in the early stages of using barcode or near field communications (NFC) technology to interact with their shopping environment. In Asia, 38 percent of consumers surveyed had scanned a product’s barcode while shopping to get additional information; 36 percent had displayed a “digital ticket” for admission to an event or to board a flight; and, 31 percent had purchased an item or received a coupon from a “smart poster” containing an electronic tag or barcode.

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the global respondents indicated that using a mobile phone for payments makes them worry about their privacy. Seventy percent said that mobile phone payments increase the risk of identity theft and fraud.

Regardless of these concerns, 62 percent of consumers surveyed who typically use a credit card for non-telco-related monthly payments said they would use their mobile phone to pay their bill, if they were to receive a 20 percent discount. Forty-seven percent said they would welcome receiving personalized mobile phone ads when they are within a few steps of the promoted product or service. And, 69 percent indicated they would gladly accept mobile phone ads sent to their phones as part of their service contract in exchange for lower mobile phone usage fees.

When asked what types of companies would play a significant role in enabling consumers to make payments or process coupons by mobile phone, most respondents (59 percent) thought that role would fall to credit card companies, followed by wireless operators (54 percent), software companies (52 percent), large retailers (52 percent) and device makers (48 percent).