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Can U.S. consumers warm up to mobile payments?

Can U.S. consumers warm up to mobile payments?

Posting in Technology

New research suggests allowing mobile carriers to be involved in collecting payments might be one way to inspire more e-commerce.

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There are certain ways in which consumers outside the United States are much more intrepid than those who live within our borders. For a long time, the willingness to pay for purchases -- especially online -- with a mobile phones or smartphone has been one of those way, but another new survey suggests this is changing.

The data from Javelin Strategy & Research found that perceptions about security are a big part of the picture: 4 out of 5 consumers responding to the company's poll of 2,000 U.S. consumers during December 2011 said they would spend more money online if there was an easier, safter way to complete the transaction.

That extra spending could amount to approximately $89 per consumer, or close to $110 billion, the survey estimates.

"According to the 2011 Online Payment Poll, consumers are concerned about the use of credit cards online and related issues of privacy, fraud, security and convenience," said Phil Blank, managing director at Javelin Strategy & Research. "If digital merchants simply offered consumers an alternative way to pay, such as mobile carrier-based payments, 79 percent of decisive consumers indicated they would spend more, driving significant new incremental revenue from subscriptions, transactions and purchases."

And, hey, that's just the decisive ones!

All those stories about huge companies being hacked this year apparently are taking their toll. At least half of the respondents said that they were worried unauthorized parties would intercept credit card information stored on merchant Web sites.

But, truth be told, U.S. consumers seem to be holding back more because they are cynical about getting involved with certain merchants online. Consider the following:

  • 55 percent of the respondents were worried the stores would start sending junk mail
  • 54 percent worried that merchants would sell personal data
  • 41 percent were concerned that credit card information would be misused by merchants

So it isn't just technology that is getting in the way of increased better results, it is trust.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure