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Consumers put off making contactless mobile payments by security fears, according to survey

Security concerns are dissuading consumers from paying for things using their mobile device as a 'wallet', according to the results of a new survey. 07 Jan 2013

In November and December last year research firm ICM Group surveyed more than 2000 adults to gauge their attitudes to "contactless payment" technology. Whilst 80% of respondents said they were aware of contactless payment, just 8% said they currently transact in such a way.

Only 34% said they would definitely or probably use their mobile as a wallet "to make payments, collect vouchers, to use as event tickets and on public transport" at this stage, ICM Group said.

Consumers would be more willing to make mobile wallet payments if security concerns, such as knowing what would happen if they lost their mobile devices, are "addressed", according to the survey results. Just over half (51%) of respondents said they would use their mobile handset to transact if security issues were tackled.

"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," ICM Group said in a statement.

One in ten people have lost their wallet or purse within the past two years, according to the survey results which also detail that most people worry more about losing their wallet or purse than their mobile.

Consumers are also currently held back from using their mobiles to make contactless transactions because there is "a lack" of "terminals" provided by retailers for making such payments, whilst there is also "little or no in store promotion" about such systems. In addition, 'Near Field Communication' technology, which allows devices to interact via radio communication when in close proximity to one another, is not "enabled" on enough 'smartphones' to date, according to ICM Group.

Resolving all these issues, and providing discount incentives to those who make contactless payments via their mobiles, would improve consumers' engagement with the technology, it said.

"Mobile wallet is about more than just paying: it allows consumers to manage their vouchers and discounts, loyalty cards, event tickets and public transport passes all in one place," Jamie Belnikoff, associate director at ICM Research, said. "Whilst people appreciate these advantages, they expect a range of incentives and benefits to get them to pay this way."

"However even with this encouragement, their genuine security concerns - and as we’ve seen in our recent research into contactless payments, - the lack of terminals in shops and absence of in-store promotion are also preventing broader consumer take-up," he said.

"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," Belnikoff said.