Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mobile Wallet: Consumers Are Hesitant, For Good Reason

A new survey by Compete suggests most consumers are not yet inclined to use mobile wallet services, despite apparent awareness of around two thirds of respondents. 

About two thirds of people who use debit cards and credit cards say they aren’t planning to start anytime soon. Just seven percent of banking consumers indicated that they would be very or extremely likely to start using their phone or tablet to make a bill payment. 

About five percent of banking consumers said they would be likely to start using their mobile device to make a deposit. Most also say they aren’t likely to start using their mobile device to make a point-of-sale purchase.

None of that should be surprising. Consumers need a clear value proposition, and it still isn't clear that has been established. Mobile Wallet: Consumers Are Hesitant Few wallet services have been able to fully develop the features they believe will clearly add significant value for consumers, and few retailers are able to support those features, either. 

Beyond that, few consumers actually are able to use near field communications, for example, since their current devices are not equipped to do so. 

Although current use and intended adoption rates for mobile services are low, once consumers adopt mobile financial or money services and start using their phone as a mobile wallet, they use the services frequently, the survey also shows. Some 16 percent of consumers using "Mobile tap and pay" do so daily and another 36 percent use it weekly. A full 87 percent of consumers using mobile couponing do so at least once a month.

There is one important element to keep in mind for any brand-new service such as mobile wallets, namely that it usually is quite impossible for end users to understand or to quantify their possible use of a product they have not yet experienced. 

Apple, for example, has not had a history of conducting market research about any of its new products, on the theory that consumers cannot really describe their possible use of a product they never have seen.

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