2013 not likely to be big for mobile wallet in UK says ICM research

Forecasts bleak 2013 for mobile wallets in UK

Smartphone penetration in the UK may be 60% and rising but 2013 is unlikely to be the year of the mobile wallet, according to ICM Research.

A survey of 2015 Brits shows that a third would definitely or probably use their mobile as a wallet to make payments, collect vouchers, to use as event tickets and on public transport.

This figure rises to 46% when asked just to smartphone owners, with younger people more likely to do so, especially 18-24 year olds at 55% and 25-34 year olds at 49%. There is another rise, to half of respondents, when an incentive such as a discount is offered.

However, ICM says that despite this enthusiasm the UK market is simply not ready to embrace the new technology, citing the slow uptake of contactless payments, often seen as an entry point for mobile wallets.

Consumer awareness of contactless may be at 80% but only eight per cent of Brits actually use their tap and go cards. Even if people did want to make NFC payments using their handsets, there are simply not enough models on the market and smartphone users tend to be tied into long contracts that they won’t break.

Security also continues to play a major role in holding back uptake – more than half of respondents would use mobiles wallets if their worries about this were addressed.

Bank or mobile providers guaranteeing any financial losses would assuage the fears of 56%, the use of a PIN on every transaction 43%, setting a daily cap on spending 34%, facial recognition 33%, and voice recognition 24%.

Jamie Belnikoff, associate director, ICM Research, says: “The market needs to combine incentives with added security measures and communicate them widely if it is to build consumer confidence that will help drive the adoption of mobile wallet.”

One group hoping to prove ICM wrong is the consortium of UK wireless operators behind Project Weave. Vodafone group chief executive Vittorio Colao has told the Telegraph that he hopes the mobile payments JV will launch by the end of the year.

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