Roughly half of adults in major global markets are interested in mobile payments because of the ease and simplicity they offer, but significant doubts persist about mobile-payment security, according to a study of consumers in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Germany and Malaysia released in early October.

Mobile payment holds the greatest appeal for consumers in Malaysia, where 56% of survey participants expressed interest in it, followed by 49% of respondents in Canada, 47% each in Germany and the United States, and 42% in Britain, according to survey data from VocaLink Ltd., a United Kingdom-based online and mobile banking technology provider.

Accord Research Consultancy, which is based in the UK, conducted the online survey of 2,000 consumers in each country between March and July on VocaLink's behalf. Each participant possessed a bank account and a mobile phone.

Some 39% of Malaysian survey respondents agreed with the statement that mobile payments are "easy and simple," compared with 35% of respondents who did in Germany, 34% in Britain, 31% in the U.S. and 30% in Canada.

Only 9% of respondents in Malaysia deemed mobile payments unappealing, compared with 20% in Germany, 21% in the U.S., 24% in Canada and 27% in Britain who did.

Security concerns are the leading negative factor among consumers who say mobile payments are unappealing. Some 45% of respondents in Malaysia cited security as their top mobile-payments worry, compared with 43% who did in Germany, 38% in the U.S., 35% in Canada and 26% in Great Britain.

Ensuring that no one could make payments from their mobile phone if it were stolen was the top priority for respondents concerned about security, led by 78% of respondents in the U.S., 71% in Canada, 65% in Britain, 50% in Germany and 48% in Malaysia.

Survey respondents who identified themselves as small-business owners showed dramatically higher interest in mobile payments, the data show.

Some 92% of small-business owners participating in the survey in Malaysia expressed interest in mobile payments, followed by 83% in Canada, 79% in the U.S., 76% in Britain and 70% in Germany.

The chief appeal of mobile payments for small-business owners is immediate payment, noted by 82% of respondents in Malaysia, 70% in Britain, 68% in the U.S., 67% in Canada and 61% in Germany.

The ability to substitute mobile payments for paper checks appealed to 62% of small-business owners in Malaysia, followed by 51% in Britain, 43% in the U.S., 42% in Canada and 32% in Germany.

"It is clear that competition to own the mobile-payments sector is advancing rapidly and, as a result, payment infrastructures must adapt to keep pace with these changes," Marc Terry, VocaLink managing director, transaction services, said in a press release accompanying the data.