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October 16, 2011

Hacking scandals make Britons wary of ‘mobile wallets’: report

Consumers fear phone hackers will crack mobile wallets, finds study by Intersperience

By CBR Staff Writer

A small minority of Britons, at just 17%, are ready to use their phones like a wallet to make purchases, with many fearing that use of ‘wave and pay’ apps will make them more prone to hackers, found a new study by Intersperience.

Nearly half (44%) of those surveyed by the consumer research company cited "security concerns" as their main concern about using their mobile phone as a wallet.

Intersperience said that phone hacking fears dominate consumers’ security concerns about new ‘mobile wallet’ payment systems and are likely to hamper UK adoption of new ‘swipe-and-pay’ smartphone systems.

Intersperience’s Digital Selves project researched the views of more than 1,000 UK consumers and the results coincide with the trial of Google’ s new mobile electronic wallet system in the US ahead of an anticipated UK launch in 2012.

The company said that the results of the poll revealed a mix of emotional and rational views on mobile payment security. While 24% of people said using a mobile for payment "feels less secure but I don’t know why", a further 24% believe their mobile is more likely to be stolen than their wallet.

High profile phone hacking scandals also reflect in the concerns, said Intersperience.

One respondent said, "After the recent phone hacking scandals it’s clear that mobiles can be hacked. I’d be worried criminals would learn to do it."

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Intersperience CEO Paul Hudson said there is no doubt that the phone hacking scandals have unnerved consumers.

Hudson continued, "We also detected a marked rise in security concerns when people use devices with mobile internet access compared to fixed access via PCs. These beliefs will impact the pace at which UK consumers adopt mobile payment systems."

The research showed that just 8% of adults currently use their mobile phone for payment although this is expected to increase as 21% said they would like to use their phone to buy something in future.

Hudson said, "Today’s adults may be adopting a cautious stance on mobile payments but we expect the next generation to be more enthusiastic. Digital Natives will be in the vanguard of mobile commerce."

Last month, Google launched its Wallet app. It is expected to be launched in the UK in the first half of next year. The new product, working on near field communication (NFC) technology, comes to the market after extensive testing, said the company while announcing the tool on a blog.

Google said that it aims to "make it possible for you to add all of your payment cards to Google Wallet, so you can say goodbye to even the biggest traditional wallets."

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