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Consumers Worry About Mobile Payment Security

Consumers Worry About Mobile Payment Security
Consumers are concerned about mobile payment security, according to a new SAP report. / Credit: Mobile payment security image via Shutterstock

Mobile payment services have the power to transform how users shop. But so far, Americans are reluctant to adopt high-tech checkout options, opting to stick to cash or credit.

A new study helps show why: U.S. consumers view mobile payment services — which let users purchase items at brick-and-mortar shops with a scan of their smartphone — as too insecure and unreliable to replace tried-and-true payment methods.

In a survey conducted by enterprise software maker SAP, nearly half of respondents said they’re worried that mobile payment plans could compromise their personal information — and their bank accounts.

And about half of the survey participants said mobile payments, which require users to enter a lot of personal information into a small mobile device to get started, are simply a hassle.

Meanwhile, a little more than 40 percent of respondents expressed concerns about maintaining a mobile Internet connection at the point of sale, which could render them unable to make any purchases at all.

More than 12,400 adults in 17 countries around the world participated in the survey.

U.S. consumers aren’t totally averse to mobile commerce — but they want services that are simple, safe and effective, said Anthony Reynolds, senior vice president of worldwide mobile sales and solutions at SAP.

“While progress is being made, companies must make a collective effort to provide consumers ease of use and benefits for mobile interactions and transactions, such as available technology, security and incentives,” Reynolds said in a press release.

Hope remains for mobile payment purveyors; more than half of U.S. consumers surveyed said they think mobile payments will become more important in the future, and about a third said they might use it themselves once providers have worked out the kinks.

Consumers in emerging markets, meanwhile, have already embraced mobile payment platforms.

Roughly 96 percent of respondents in countries including South Africa, India, Saudi Arabia and China said they’re interested in using their cellphone to purchase products and services.

The study did provide some clues that could help mobile payments go mainstream. Consumers said they might be enticed by better incentives from mobile payment providers, and they hope to see mobile checkout support from more retailers in the future.

The “mobile wallet ” model already has plenty of perks. Consumers who have used their phones to make purchases said they value the flexibility, speed and convenience of mobile platforms.

For now, Americans continue to lag behind other countries in terms of overall mobile use. Just 38 percent of U.S. respondents said they use their phone for more than talking and texting, compared with 63 percent of users globally, the survey found.