Consumer sentiment regarding mobile payments has improved “drastically,” as social media conversations have moved to discussions over which options should be used and which are most secure, according to a new MasterCard report.
In its second annual global Mobile Payments Study, conducted with PRIME Research, MasterCard tracked more than 13 million social-media comments across Twitter, Facebook, online blogs and forums globally.
“Merchants carry an 88 percent positive rating, with many touting mobile acceptance as a competitive advantage,” MasterCard notes in its report announcement. “As consumers increasingly turn to mobile options, merchants reluctant to accept these payments may find themselves at a disadvantage.”
The research points to 2013 as the year mobile payments transitioned from “concept to adoption,” MasterCard said. “Adopters,” or those who have used mobile payments, drove 81 percent of conversations in 2013.
“This finding is a reversal from 2012, when only 32 percent of those discussing mobile payments had used a product,” MasterCard said. “While security concerns around mobile payments still exist, the study demonstrates that consumers and merchants have moved from ‘why use mobile payments?’ to ‘which mobile payment option should be used?’”
In terms of consumer discussions, talk focusing on the quality and staying power of various products has replaced confusion over mobile-payment options found in the 2012 study. The research found consumers have moved from questioning whether to use mobile payments to deciding which mobile payments option to use.
With merchants, mobile-payment acceptance is the most visible topic, generating 15 percent of the total conversations and 48 percent of merchant conversations specifically. The research suggests both consumers and merchants are supportive of mobile payments (86 percent), which will likely lead to more merchant adoption this year, MasterCard contends.
Merchants accepting mobile payments touted convenience as a key driver, with a 97 percent positive/neutral rating. The research indicates merchants are discussing the benefits of mobile payments for both themselves and consumers, in many cases as a differentiator for their business.
Some confusion over mobile security remains, and education efforts will be critical to the success and adoption of mobile payments, MasterCard said. Questions about security led to a negative rating of 66 percent.
In terms of education, despite robust security confusion exists on how mobile technology will affect processes to reverse fraudulent and unauthorized charges. Consumers using MasterCard for mobile payments are protected from fraudulent purchases through MasterCard’s zero-liability policy, according to the card brand.