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Consumers Wary of Mobile Wallets

31 Oct, 2012 By: Doug McPherson

DALLAS – Even though many consumers have adapted to mobile, they get a little skittish at the idea of a mobile wallet – so says a new survey by ResearchNow, commissioned by payment processing firm Litle & Co.

The study found that nearly 25 percent of the more than 500 customers surveyed have shopped on their mobile devices. Their average shopping total: between $20 and $100. But when it comes to using devices, i.e., the mobile wallet, as a payment tool, there is a lot of disinterest. The survey says only 8.6 percent of consumers with smartphones agree that “mobile wallets are going to change the payment world.” More than two-thirds (71 percent) say they have never used a mobile swipe service at a retailer.

Ben Saren, vice president of marketing, at Litle, says the number of shoppers buying with their mobile devices is small, and calls into question the consumer appetite for mobile payments. He says the reason why mobile wallets haven't caught on yet is because there really hasn't been an incentive to switch over to them.

“It's still just as easy, if not easier, to pull out cash or a credit card and make a purchase,” Saren says. “Also, there will never be consumer adoption until merchant adoption expands. No one service has gained ubiquity in the marketplace."

The study also finds that loyalty and rewards programs that are associated with mobile are among the more important motivations for consumers using mobile.

For the holiday season, 53 percent of those surveyed say they’ll use available funds versus credit to buy gifts. About a third of shoppers say they’ll use credit cards this season, and nearly half of cardholders say that awards and miles are a primary reason for using their cards. But among the most affluent (income of $150,000 and up), 73 percent are motivated by rewards to pull out the plastic.

Insiders say the mobile wallet is still in its infancy. Google has an app tied to its own payment system, and Apple recently introduced its Passbook on iOS 6 that gathers together third-party coupons, E-tickets and debit cards.

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