Only one in five consumers interested in NFC payments

News Alissa Fitzpatrick 17:13, 21 Jun 2011

A new study by shopping site Retrevo has found 80 per cent of customers are not that interested in making purchases with their mobiles

We recently revealed one in five smartphones will have Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless technology by 2014. Well, now we've heard only one in five consumers are actually interested in the swipe-to-pay technology.

A new study by Retrevo reveals that 53 per cent of consumers are not interested in a phone with a mobile wallet, while 26 per cent of consumers have no idea what NFC or a mobile wallet is.

NFC involves putting a chip in a device, like mobile phones, allowing the phones to make purchases without the need for a credit card or cash. In addition to making purchases, the NFC technology also allows a person to carry other items typically contained in a wallet such as library, Oyster, and insurance cards.

Like an Oyster card, a person would just need to tap the mobile phone and a purchase could be made.

While this technology may appear in the near future there is just one problem, people seemingly don’t want it, as only 21 per cent gave a resounding yes for it.


The younger generation, ages 18-35 years old, appear to have more interest than the 50 and older set. 75 per cent of consumers over the age of 50 don’t want anything to do with the technology, while men are twice as more likely to use the device to make purchases than women.

The NFC technology has failed test runs in the past, and in order to get the technology up and running successfully there will be huge start up costs, as ‘there will need to be mass installations of NFC-enabled pay stations across the country.’

A mobile wallet provider will also need to be selected for the NFC technology, and currently there is a long list of potential suppliers. Google, Apple, MasterCard, Visa, and American Express could all provide the necessary services, however, the study by Retrevo reveals that credit card services are not the most trusted, and instead consumers prefer their mobile phone platform to provide the mobile wallet service.

In the study, 61 per cent of iPhone users say that they would trust Apple to provide the services, while only 45 per cent of Android users say that they would trust Google. Additionally, 33 per cent of all mobile phone users would not trust any of the services named, which was a list compiled of most major cell phone carriers and credit card companies.

With new technology and services comes new fears, and security and privacy appears to be a big issue for many consumers. Although the convenience of the device would be swoon worthy, mobile phone users will need to properly secure their phones to prevent hacking.

In February of 2011, a hacker proved how vulnerable mobile payments can be when he cracked into the Starbucks Rewards Card for iPhone, an app that allows consumers to pay for their purchases via their mobile phones. The hacker cracked into the phone when the iPhone user left his phone on the table when he used the restroom.

‘When they do that, the hacker needs just 90 seconds to capture their Starbucks Card barcode by simply taking a screen shot using a function built into the handset,' NFC Communications World says.

While the NFC claims to not be ‘vulnerable to card cloning in the same way,’ we question this as any personal information can be dangerous in the hands of a hacker. There is not doubt the excitement around mobile payments will continue to grow, as will the questions surrounding the services and the fear.

Stay tuned for more information, but in the meantime read our guide on NFC here.

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