Consumers in the United Kingdom are concerned about security when considering using mobile-wallet payment systems, according to new research Intersperience Research Ltd. released Oct. 14.
Such security concerns could slow the adoption of new mobile-payments technology, including the anticipated 2012 U.K. launch of Google Wallet. Moreover, younger consumers are likely to embrace the technology faster than are older consumers, the firm notes.
In an online survey of 1,000 adult UK consumers it conducted in September to explore consumer attitudes toward mobile-payment technology, the London-based research firm found that 17% of respondents would like to use their mobile phone as a wallet. But 44% said security software to prevent hacking and identity theft was their chief concern.
"Phone-hacking scandals have raised fears about mobile security, but those high-profile cases did not involve theft or fraud in the conventional sense at all," a spokesperson for the research firm said in an emailed statement. "The problem of personal identity fraud being committed online was an issue long before the phone hacking scandal."
While security was a concern, respondents generally had mixed feelings about mobile payments. Some 24% said using a mobile phone for payment "feels less secure but I don't know why," while another 24% believed their phone more likely would be stolen than their wallet, Intersperience said.
"These beliefs will impact the pace at which UK consumers adopt mobile-payment systems," Paul Hudson, CEO of Intersperience, said in a press release.
Only 8% of consumers surveyed had used their mobile phones to initiate payments, but the firm expects that percentage to increase because 21% of respondents said they would like to use their phone to buy something, the research found.
The firm in September also surveyed 1,000 U.K. children ages 8 to 18 in a subsequent study. Not surprisingly, younger consumers emerged as the group most keen to adopt mobile payments, as 33% of respondents said they would like to use their mobile phones to initiate payments.
Of the participants in the children's group, 25% said they would be happy to use a mobile wallet or payment system instead of traditional payment methods.
This younger group, referred to as "digital natives" because of their ability to adapt to new technology, "will be the vanguard of mobile commerce," Hudson noted.