Rewards and value-adding features will spur uptake of mobile payments - Accenture

Source: Accenture

Financial incentives and mobile-based financial-management tools could increase consumers’ use of smartphones as payment devices, according to an Accenture (NYSE: ACN) survey of 4,000 smartphone users in the United States and Canada.

More than half of respondents who currently use their smartphones to make payments said they were highly likely to pay by phone more often if they could use their phone to track receipts (cited by 60 percent of respondents), manage their personal finances (56 percent), or show proof of insurance (56 percent) or of a valid driver’s license (54 percent).

In addition, more than half of those who currently make mobile payments also said they were highly likely to pay by phone more often if they were offered: instant coupons from retailers when buying by phone (cited by 60 percent of respondents); reward points stored on their phone for future purchases at the store (51 percent); coupons that could be automatically stored on their phone (50 percent); or preferential treatment, such as priority customer service (50 percent).

The same value-added tools and incentives could increase the adoption of mobile payments among non-users. For instance, about one in three non-users said they would be more likely to use mobile payments if they could use their phones as proof of insurance or to track receipts (each cited by 32 percent of respondents). And about one in five non-users said that they would be more likely to use mobile payments if they received a preferential treatment at retailers or coupons for future purchase that could be stored on their phones (cited by 21 and 20 percent of respondents, respectively).

“Our survey reveals that current users and non-users alike can be incentivized to use their smartphones to make mobile payments through rewards for usage or other value-added tools such as receipt tracking,” said Jim Bailey, managing director and head of Accenture Payment Services in North America. “As consumers expect their smartphones to improve and simplify their lives, financial institutions, merchants, mobile network operators and technology providers should consider incorporating new mobile payment applications to encourage broad adoption as quickly as possible.”

The survey also found that security concerns are the greatest barrier to consumer adoption of mobile payments, with 60 percent of respondents who do not use their smartphones for mobile payments citing security concerns as a reason for not doing so. Privacy issues and the convenience of using cash, checks or credit cards were the next-most-mentioned reasons, each cited by 37 percent of respondents.

“While the industry is preoccupied with the technology roll-out for mobile payments, we found that consumers are still very concerned about security and privacy issues,” said Matthew Friend, managing director, Accenture Payment Services, North America. “In addition, a significant number still don’t see the convenience and value of using their phones to make payments. For mobile payments to achieve widespread adoption, consumers must be educated about the fact that mobile payments are secure and more convenient than other payment options. While persuading current users to become more regular users is clearly important, getting people to use this technology in the first place is the biggest challenge the industry faces.”

Methodology

Accenture designed and commissioned an online survey of smartphone owners in the United States and Canada, which was conducted by Lightspeed Research in October 2012. Respondents were representative of the population of smartphone owners in gender, age and income in both countries. The 4,002 respondents included 3,401 from the United States and 601 from Canada.

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