Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Half of U.S. Consumers Unfamiliar with NFC, M-Wallets

Half of the 1,000 U.S. consumers polled for a survey conducted for payment solutions provider Verifone said they were unfamiliar with mobile technologies such as near field communication (NFC) and mobile wallets. Similarly, half the respondents said they were unlikely to shop in a store simply because it used in-store tracking technology to provide offers via mobile devices. Among the advantages respondents cited for using smartphones in lieu of traditional payment methods, speed of use ranked first (34 percent), followed by freedom from carrying a wallet (29 percent), access to mobile deals (24 percent), ease in tracking spending (23 percent) and safety of personal data (18 percent).

Fifty-three percent of people surveyed said it was important for more stores to install devices enabling consumers to pay with smartphones; among the 40-and-below demographic, the figure was 64 percent. In addition, 84 percent of respondents indicated that they would be willing to use their smartphones to pay for small and medium purchases. Credit and debit cards remain the primary method of payment for 63 percent of respondents, with 6 percent favoring alternative payment options such as PayPal, and 4 percent preferring mobile wallet services.

When Apple’s NFC-based system, Apple Pay, debuted in October 2014, the company reported that it signed up 1 million credits cards within the first 72 hours of the launch. That sounds encouraging, and it may well be a sign of things to come, but this survey indicates that NFC and other smartphone-based payment solutions have a long way to go before they are widely understood, accepted, and utilized by the American public. While one might expect that worry about security would be the major stumbling block, it appears that lack of familiarity is actually the main obstacle to widespread adoption. Consumers, especially younger ones, say they are willing to use these technologies if available, but indicated that they still lack detailed knowledge of what they can do and what advantages they may offer. Furthermore, while many respondents were able to cite specific advantages, a similar number stated that such advantages were not persuasive enough, in and of themselves, to cause them to adopt the payment methods. Mobile payment has made huge strides in the developing world, but in the U.S., if solutions providers, device manufacturers and MNOs want to profit from it, they will have to make an assiduous effort to educate the public about it.

The above item appeared in a recent issue of The Tarifica Alert, a weekly resource that analyzes noteworthy developments in the telecoms industry from around the world. To access all of the latest articles and issues or to speak with the research team:

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