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Consumers And Mobile Pay: We’re Aware Of It, But We Don’t See The Benefit

A Pew survey confirms the proverbial ‘solution in search of a problem’ view people have of contactless transactions. Rewards could change minds.

One day they’re set to revolutionize the mobile in-store experience, the next they’re dead in the water due to security concerns, as retailers and marketers continue to wrap their heads around mobile payments.

Consumers are enticed by the idea of mobile pay, they still don’t feel properly informed on how it works, according to a survey being released by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Pew convened focus groups of mobile pay users as well as mobile device owners who aren’t mobile pay users in order to better understand consumer sentiment towards the idea of mobile pay.

“The objective of this research was first to gauge people’s awareness and perception of mobile payments technology; explore their usage or willingness to use it; and understand any barriers to usage,” Pew wrote.

The researchers found that most consumers had at least a cursory understanding of mobile payments. Many had at least tried them before and most were able to name specific apps they had used, including Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal, and dedicated apps from vendors like Starbucks and Wendy’s.

While overall awareness of the existence of mobile payments was high, almost none of the participants had any idea how they actually work (maybe they should take a look at our handy GeoMarketing Guide to Mobile Payments).

As one participant complained: “[i]t just seems that all of this makes life more complicated than writing a check or paying with cash.” But most participants admitted they could be enticed to try mobile payments based on two things: incentives, like loyalty rewards and promotions, and an assurance that mobile pay is just as secure as paying with a credit card.mobile pay research 2

“Use of mobile payments in the U.S. is projected to grow at a 22 percent compound annual growth rate through 2019,” Pew wrote, and if retailers want to bank on getting a piece of that 22 percent growth, they’ll have to make a concerted effort to assuage the concerns of mobile pay users and educate nonusers on the benefits and methods of how mobile pay works.

Read the full report here. Some other key takeaways from the report include:

  • Mobile payments were used most frequently for online shopping and funds transfers, and a bit less likely to be used in-store. Familiarizing customers through online mobile payments first may be a good way to get them comfortable enough to use them in-store.
  • Participants cited several barriers to using mobile payments, including a lack of perceived personal benefit as well as discomfort with some industry practices.
  • Participants were mostly unaware of what data is collected on them when they use mobile pay. They also did not know whether their privacy could be compromised or any of the security measures taken by mobile pay.
About The Author
Daniel Parisi Daniel Parisi @daniel_parisi_

Daniel Parisi is a New York City-based writer and recent graduate of the University of Maryland. Daniel specializes in coverage of mobile payments, loyalty programs, and the Internet of Things.