What is the biggest obstacle to mobile payment adoption?

New developments in mobile payments are occurring weekly, sometimes daily. But from supposed industry changing services like Apple Pay to smaller, consumer centric apps, mobile payment providers face the same problem: adoption.

Google Wallet was in use long before the Apple Pay tornado arrived, and Square has taken the time to build a loyal merchant following. But neither of these managed to significantly change consumer behaviour.

The biggest obstacle to consumer adoption of NFC/EMV mobile payments over the next 12 months is the lack of a reason for consumers to change from swiping cards, a survey conducted by Bay Forum has found.

Nearly half of the respondents (48.4 per cent) felt this was the primary obstacle, with “a lack of understanding about how it works” attributed to nearly a quarter of those surveyed (23.4 per cent).  Security concerns ranked third with (12.5 per cent) of the votes.  Other reasons included “low perceived value vs. traditional payment methods” (7.8 per cent); “behavioral barriers—unfamiliar actions” (5.5 per cent); and “high cost of new NFC enabled devices” (2.3 per cent).

 “These results aren’t as surprising as they first appear,” commented Daniel Chatelain, founder and Managing Director of the BayPay Forum“The availability of working NFC readers during this period, coupled with the current low use of mobile phones for payments could mean that adoption will take longer than a year.”

The survey, which was conducted over the past five weeks, began before the launch of Apple Pay.

“This may have had an impact on the survey,” Chatelain concluded.  “But it’s clear that the belief is that consumers will continue existing behaviors for at least the short term.”

Interestingly enough, the cost of NFC enabled smartphones seems to be the least important reason to avoid mobile payments.

Now that US consumers are being forced to adopt EMV cards, mobile payments may be able to harness the change in consumer behaviour to really take off. But, as Chatelain notes, the adoption is unlikely to be immediate or complete.

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