iPhone owners lead wary UK consumers on mobile payments

UK consumers remain cautious of mobile payments, with only 13% of those taking part in a recent YouGov survey willing to make contactless payments. The report found that iPhone owners are the most likely prospective users of mobile payments services, with 46% saying that they would pay a bill using their device, versus 21% of the general UK adult population. However, wariness towards contactless payments remains relatively high, with only 31% of iPhone owners surveyed saying they would make contactless payments via their phone using a mobile wallet service, versus 13% of UK adults.

In addition, the majority of those surveyed seemed most comfortable with actions that did not actually involve making payments, with 36% of UK adults – and a huge 69% of iPhone owners – willing to check their account balance on a device.  Only 17% were willing to pay for items or services using their phones.

Consumer wariness towards mobile payments is partially due to the dearth of relevant services and handsets available. The upcoming iPhone 5 is rumoured to be fitted with near field communication technology (NFC) that will enable mobile payments, while Orange only rolled out the first mainstream contactless mobile payments service in January this year. O2, meanwhile, says it will launch its mobile payments app in Q3 and predicts that consumers will be able to choose from a raft of similar new services in the latter half of this year. The firm’s head of mobile payments, Claire Maslen, told StrategyEye last month that mobile payments were unlikely to take off if consumers were bombarded with too many options too soon.

“When we talk to customers and trialled NFC, they’ve told us that being able to view transactions, and checking information about their accounts and cards with the immediacy of mobile would make their lives easier,” she says.”But you’ve got to be careful of delivering too much on day one. Customers get confused by it.”

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