More evidence this week about why mobile operators and other players must keep a mind on how understandably sensitive users are about the security of their debit and credit card data. Research firm Intersperience asked UK adults whether they planned to use mobile wallets in the future. Their answer should give everyone in the mobile money market a big pause for thought. Just 17 percent said they would use their mobile handset for payments in the future. When queried about their reluctance nearly half (44 percent) cited a lack of security software as a particular worry.
That finding chimed very closely with Mobile Money Live’s own poll conducted over the last week. A similar proportion (40 percent) of our respondents cited user concern over security as the major challenge that mobile payments has to overcome to become mass market. This option was chosen as the most significant ahead of creating a mobile ecosystem; widespread and affordable NFC handsets; and producing a service that is distinctive from existing credit and debit cards.
Back to the Intersperience survey. The results “revealed a mix of emotional and rational views” on mobile payment security, the firm says. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of respondents feel that their mobile phone is less secure for making payments but can’t explain why. A similar proportion feel their handset is more likely to be stolen than a physical wallet.
Furthermore many users feel uncomfortable because of the UK’s recent phone hacking scandals which attracted a lot of public attention, says the research firm. The scandals involved the hacking of voicemail systems belonging both to celebrities and members of the public by private investigators employed by media group News International. Bear in mind, the crime involved voicemail and obviously had nothing in common with NFC technology.
This research is revealing because it demonstrates the level at which mobile operators, as well as banks, credit card companies and internet firms, have to address user concerns. This is an emotional reaction and one to which the industry needs to respond in the same way. Marketing campaigns for new NFC-based services need to surround them in a reassuring aura. And operators need to start thinking now about how they react the tirst time an NFC hacking claim surfaces.
Finally, the Intersperience survey revealed that younger users are more relaxed about using their mobile phones for payments. Again this is predictable. One in three said they would be happy to make mobile payments in future. Unless the mobile industry wants to skip a generation in waiting for a return on its investment in NFC, they need to starting thinking about today users' peace of mind.
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