Driving adoption of mobile wallets: convenience isn’t enough

by: David Julien

Mobile wallet providers made a huge push to acquire users this past holiday shopping season – encouraging consumers to manage card payments through a smartphone app. As an example, Google Wallet offered a compelling incentive by promising users $5 for each person they referred who signed up. Smartphone users could refer up to 20 friends (earning up to $100), while their referred friends also received a $5 gift!

An optimistic study from VentureBeat projected that 30% of U.S. users would adopt the mobile technology for the holidays. But the jury (and the data) is still out as to whether gambles like this worked.

A customer experience quandary: Convenience vs. peace of mind

It’s not surprising that the large players in this new arena have been having a hard time building a customer base. While these providers may be focusing hard on technical capability and device support, consumers are weighing the emotional pros and cons. In the age of sophisticated identity theft, loading all one’s highly confidential payment data onto their phone is no small decision. Sure, it sounds appealing to access mobile wallet convenience from any device, and it’s handy if your favorite merchants support it. But many customers have valid concerns about privacy and security, and many merchants are still not equipped to accept mobile wallets. In the VentureBeat study, 69% of smartphone users said they weren’t sure which stores would accept the type of mobile payments they use.

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