A new study from Javelin Strategy & Research shows that security concerns are continuing to prevent take-up of mobile person-to-person (P2P) payments, with just one in ten Americans willing use the services.
The survey of 2192 consumers found the speed and convenience of mobile P2P payments systems are attractive to Americans, but security concerns remain the biggest deterrent.
Almost two-thirds of respondents said enhanced security would encourage them to use mobile P2P payments. Javelin says even "tech savvy" consumers, while interested in mobile P2P payments, "strongly fear" the loss of personal information (62%) and fraudulent transfers (52%).
Javelin says if customers are to be convinced by mobile P2P payments, banks need to focus on consumer education and provide convincing evidence that the channel is safe.
"Perceived security threats are definitely the sticking point for mobile P2P payments right now," says Mary Monahan, partner and senior analyst, Javelin Strategy & Research.
Interest is particularly weak among 45-55 year olds, with just 14% of this group likely to use mobile P2P payments, and this figure falls to a just 11% for 55 to 64 year olds. Among 18 to 23 year-old consumers, 23% indicated that avoiding cash and cheques is their primary motivation to adopt the service.
However, Javelin says there are opportunities in the market and points to the 60% of unbanked consumers that would be willing to move away from money lenders toward banks to have the ability to conduct mobile P2P payments.
Another huge potential market is provided by the 38 million migrants currently living in the US. Javelin cites World Bank figures which suggest international migrant remittances stand at more than $232 billion, with $167 billion flowing to developing countries.
Javelin also claims mobile P2P payments may pave the way for merchant payments and shopping via handsets. The firm predicts advances in mobile browser technology through open source platforms like Google Android and Apple iPhone SDK, could lead to handsets replacing the use of credit or debit cards.
"Once the safety and access hurdles are cleared, we expect this technology will become part of everyday life," adds Monahan.
The news that Americans are unmoved by mobile P2P payments follows research from Harris Interactive last week showing over half of US consumers - 53% - have no interest in using their handsets for banking or commerce.