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Survey finds consumers are not educated on mobile payments

January 13, 2015

New research indicates that consumers are not fully aware of what mobile payment technology can offer them. Finance, retail and tech industries will be responsible for driving the trend forward in 2015. 

New research indicates that consumers are not fully aware of what mobile payment technology can offer them. Finance, retail and tech industries will be responsible for driving the trend forward in 2015. 

People are not thoroughly educated on mobile payment technology 
According to PYMNTS.com, almost half of consumers in the United States do not have a solid understanding of what mobile payments are and how they work. As per a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults administered by Wakefield Research during the 2014 holiday shopping season, half of those polled said they were not aware of what mobile wallets or near field communication devices were. It seems that educating the general public on what mobile payments are and their ease of use is warranted.

While half of those polled did not have adequate knowledge of mobile payment systems, approximately 53 percent of respondents were of the opinion that retailers should install devices that allow consumers to pay with their smartphones. A trend observed in the survey was that younger consumers – those age 40 and below – were more likely to support the idea of using smartphones to pay for products. Approximately 64 percent of young respondents expressed the opinion that stores should allow payment with a smartphone.

It takes time for new technology to become commonplace
InvestCorrectly also reported on the Wakefield survey and noted that while not fully aware of the benefits of mobile payment technology, 84 percent of survey respondents said they would use their mobile devices to pay for small and medium-sized purchases. An industry expert commented that it often takes time for new technologies to reach critical mass and for consumers to become accustomed to them. He also noted that in 2015, various industries such as retail, finance and technology will be responsible for driving the mobile payment trend forward. As more companies integrate payments from smartphones into their sales platforms, an increasing number of consumers will become attracted to the idea and opt to join in the trend. 

The survey by Wakefield also found that credit and debit cards remain the primary means of making purchases. Approximately 63 percent of all survey respondents favored using their cards, with 6 percent indicating alternative payment options such as PayPal. Only 4 percent of respondents said they preferred mobile wallet services. Those who preferred mobile wallets explained which features were most attractive to them – 36 percent ranked speed first, 29 percent cited freedom from carrying a wallet, 24 percent said they enjoyed the ease in tracking spending and 18 percent cited safety of personal data.

It is likely that as consumers become more aware of the advantages mobile payments can offer, they will rely on them for more of their purchasing activity in the future. Currently, services like Apple Pay and Google Wallet are still considered options – not necessities. Educating consumers and retailers on what can be achieved with mobile payment technology, and benefits like ease of use, security and convenience may speed up the time it will take for mobile payments to become mainstream. 

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