Mobile Payment’s Education Gap

When it comes to mobile payments, half of U.S. consumers literally don’t know what they’re missing. According to a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted during the 2014 holiday shopping season, half of the consumers polled were unfamiliar with mobile technologies such as NFC and mobile wallets.

That suggests consumers need more education on the performance and ease of use of mobile pay services, Chain Store Age reported. The online survey was conducted by Wakefield Research for point-of-sale maker Verifone.

But that doesn’t mean consumers don’t like the idea of mobile payments. The survey revealed that 53 percent of respondents believed it’s important for more stores to install devices that let consumers pay with their smartphones. That response was even higher among younger consumers — 64 percent of those age 40 and below said stores should be letting customers use smartphones to pay.

In addition, 84 percent said they would use their smartphones to pay for small and medium-size purchases, such as a cup of coffee or pair of jeans.

“This is a classic case of new technologies needing to reach critical mass before consumers come on board,” said Verifone senior VP Joe Mach. “Today, in 2015, the pieces are fitting into place — what’s essential now is for the industries driving the mobile payment revolution, from finance to retail to systems providers, to educate consumers on mobile payment’s benefits and easy use.”

According to the survey, credit and debit cards remain the primary method of payment for 63 percent of all survey respondents, with 6 percent favoring alternative payment options such as PayPal and only 4 percent preferring mobile wallet services. And while 54 percent are familiar with EMV technology, that’s likely because 39 of that group (21 percent of all respondents) use credit or debit cards that have EMV chips as their primary or secondary payment method. (Among respondents under 40, 49 percent use EMV chip payment cards.)

Among the advantages respondents cited for mobile payments, 34 percent ranked speed first, followed by freedom from carrying a wallet (29 percent), access to mobile deals (24 percent), ease in tracking spending (23 percent) and safety of personal data (18 percent).