Tech-savvy business travelers soon may not have to worry about whipping out their wallets every time to pay for a purchase when they're on the road. New technologies such as mobile wallets and near-field communications (NFC), along with a proliferation of travel apps, can streamline both the purchase and expensing process. But customers' and businesses' lack of familiarity with these new tools remains a significant stumbling block, according to eMarketer, a research organization.
Most business travelers are clueless when it comes to mobile payment systems, according to a survey of members of the nonprofit Association for Corporate Travel Executives. The majority of ACTE respondents (53 percent) described themselves as beginners on the subject of mobile payments, with little or no knowledge of the way they work. Only 6 percent said they were very familiar with the technology.
Furthermore, vendors are being sluggish in responding to the anticipated surge in the adoption of NFC-enabled phones in the next few years, eMarketer said. They will probably wait until pressured by consumers to invest in the readers and other infrastructure needed to process NFC payments made via mobile devices.
Security also remains an issue. Almost six in 10 ACTE members either said they didn't know how safe mobile payments were, or thought mobile payments were less secure than traditional plastic cards.
But consumer demand for tap-and-pay convenience will certainly rise soon, eMarketer said, citing a survey by payment processor Worldpay that showed 58 percent of consumers worldwide were interested in using a mobile device to pay for flights in the future.