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Why do consumers still shy away from mobile payments?

March 31, 2016

Over the last few years, many experts have guessed that widespread adoption of mobile payment platforms among both consumers and merchants would come along somewhat naturally.

Over the last few years, many experts have guessed that widespread adoption of mobile payment platforms among both consumers and merchants would come along somewhat naturally. Since then, however, that process has hit something of a roadblock, with the biggest reason – at least on the consumer side – being that people remain concerned about how secure these payment platforms actually are. That’s an issue that doesn’t really have an easy answer associated with it.

As of late last year, only about 1 in 6 people with an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus – which are capable of making Apple Pay transactions – had actually used the payment platform, and while that number is on the rise, only a little more than 1 in 3 of those users (so, 1 in 18 overall) were using the system regularly, according to a report from Yahoo Tech. That number was actually down from about 1 in 12 just six months before. Likewise, another study found that Android Pay only had about 1 percent of its user base utilizing the platform at least twice a month, while this was true for 4 percent of Samsung Pay users.

“Repeated and consistent use is stalled,” IDC payments analyst James Wester told the site. “That means it’s still a novelty to most consumers – something they use once to try it but don’t use it as a replacement for cards.”

Consumers are at least trying mobile payment platforms, but few stick with them.Consumers are at least trying mobile payment platforms, but few stick with them.

Security issues a major factor
In fact, about 2 in 11 consumers say that the reason they’ve avoided Apple Pay on a regular basis is that they’re concerned about the security of the system overall, the report said. Experts say that this can be both a blessing and a curse, because while data breaches like those suffered by major retail chains over the course of last year would not expose payment card information on these accounts, there may be other vulnerabilities lingering as well, such as when users have to initially transmit card information online.

A bigger concern?
On the other hand, some experts likewise believe that while security – or at least the perception of it – is indeed a stumbling block, perhaps a more pressing one is the fact that many retailers large and small still haven’t adopted these platforms on their end, the report said. That means even if a consumer wants to use a mobile payment system to complete a purchase at their favorite store, they simply may not have the option. While adoption in this regard is on the rise, it’s not moving along quite so quickly enough to encourage serious confidence that it will engender a tipping point for consumer adoption as well.

However, the fact remains that the tipping point is coming at some point in the indeterminate future, and any merchants that have yet to adopt mobile payment platforms as a purchasing option for their customers could end up running into difficulties keeping up with consumer habits that may have evolved past their capabilities.

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