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High interest in mobile payments fails to translate to consumer use: report

While 68 percent of consumers are interested in adopting mobile payments, 14 percent have actually completed a mobile transaction in the past three months, according to a report from Yankee Group.

Yankee Group’s report titled “Mobile Wallets for the Masses” looks at the March United States Consumer Survey and U.S. Enterprise Mobility: IT Decision-Maker Survey to analyze the state of mobile transactions. The report concludes that the key in mobile payments is to deliver personalized and valuable offers to consumers.

“The first point to make about mobile payments is that payments as a whole are not broken,” said London-based Jason Armitage, principal analyst at Yankee Group. “In other words, consumers already have lots of different options to pay, whether it be through cards, through cash, there’s already several methods, so the actual feature of payment is not in itself something that really draws consumers into using mobile wallets as a whole.

“So a couple of the features that have been slotted as being more attractive, one is mobile offers, so you serve an offer to a customer on a discount for a particular product that they can then claim in a store,” he said. “Although there’s pretty high interest in receiving offers, the usage level is pretty low on mobile offers as well.

“This points to one of the other issues with mobile wallets, and that’s that you need the ecosystem of players and partners working together to really put together a complete wallet solution for consumers. So specifically it’s very important to have merchants and retailers on board with your solution.”

Slow adoption
Despite the fact that companies keep rolling out new mobile payment systems, consumers have not really taken to the technology.

Two years ago Google launched Google Wallet as the first step to join online and offline commerce. Yet less than 3 percent of U.S. consumers use Google Wallet to pay in-store, per Yankee Group.

For some reason, there is a disconnect between the intrigue that consumers find with mobile payments and the actual use of them.

More than two in three consumers said that they were interested in mobile transactions, but only 14 percent have actually made a mobile payment in the past three months.

The good news is that there seems to be interest. Now it is up to the mobile commerce providers to make the shift from interest to use.

One of the biggest setbacks in terms of mobile commerce adoption is security concerns. Consumers are worried about fraud and hesitant to trust a mobile wallet.

According to Mr. Armitage, PayPal does a good job at addressing these concerns and is therefore one of today’s leading mobile payment suppliers.

The company does not require consumers to enter card credentials onto a mobile handset. Many consumers do not want to enter their credit card information directly into their phone, so PayPal addressed this obstacle with a creative solution.

Mobile wallet providers should also make sure to include a combination of security features such as PIN protection to reassure consumers.

Tips for mcommerce vendors
To attract consumers, mobile payment systems need to be multifaceted and provide offers, loyalty and payments in one seamless experience.

Two mobile payment systems that are succeeding in this aspect are LevelUp and Merchant CustomerExchange.

Another interesting finding in the report is that consumers purchase on average $4.68 worth of products via mobile payment in-store and $11.62 of products via mobile commerce online.

This indicates that mobile commerce skews towards small-ticket items such as a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Another interest result is that consumers do not seem to have a preference between paying by NFC versus QR codes. However, Mr. Armitage encourages mobile wallet vendors to make their wallets compatible with as many technologies as possible.

It is important not to limit the number of retailers and merchants where a consumer can use a mobile wallet.

“Needing a wide range of offers and places where you can pay using mobile wallets, that’s something that’s going to be really important to consumers,” Mr. Armitage said.

“Before you walk out your door and leave your payment card at home and just take your mobile handset, you want to know that that will work as a payment method for lots and lots of different retailers and services,” he said.

“Having that wide ecosystem of merchants and services on board is really critical before the wallet is considered an actual replacement for methods such as cards.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York