Consumers Embracing Mobile Payments Despite Early Security Concerns

If paying for products and services using your mobile phone sounds to you like a convenient—but slightly risky—proposition, you’re not alone. Mobile payment has been a hot topic among businesses for a while, and discerning the willingness of consumers to share payment transaction information using mobile devices has been key.

According to the latest research from Purchase-based MasterCard, consumers have shifted their focus from questioning the security of mobile payments to discussing the possibilities of enhanced digital experiences on devices. The conclusion comes from MasterCard’s third annual Mobile Payments Study (developed in partnership with PRIME Research), which the company released today at Mobile World Congress 2015, in Barcelona. The study tracked 19.1 million global social media posts across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, forums, Weibo (CN), Google+, and YouTube throughout 2014, and covers unique consumer opinions from 56 markets in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Rim.

The study results not only show a remarkable growth in volume of conversations, but a change in both the tone and focus of the social discussion. Here are some of the interesting data points:

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Positive Conversations Surge

Overall sentiment around mobile payments continues to improve. In 2014, 94% of global conversations were favorable, compared to 77% last year and 70% in 2012.

The most positive conversations centered around innovation, rewards and loyalty, and convenience (91% average positive tone).

Safety and Security Ranked among the Most Positive Topics Discussed

Overall, 91% of the safety and security conversations in 2014 were favorable, up from 20% in 2012 when it was the most negative topic appearing in the research.

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Confusion and concern over safety and security, cited in both the 2012 and 2013 studies, have now been replaced by consumers celebrating more secure solutions.

Tokenization and biometrics, both key conversations in 2014, contributed significantly to this tipping point.

Focus Shifts to the Benefits of Mobile Payments through Innovation

Although security conversations were among the most positive in the study, the volume of these conversations was low.

Conversations on digital innovation and the enriched experiences delivered by mobile and connected devices drove the majority (71%) of social discussions among stakeholders in 2014.

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Convenience was the most positive aspect of mobile payments (94% positive sentiment). Consumers were most excited to share specific purchases made with mobile devices, particularly how they could utilize them for everyday purchases.

Along with convenience, additional reward incentives—like coupon redemption and loyalty programs and points—were discussed frequently within innovation (24% of stakeholder conversations). The additional potential benefits to be integrated into mobile payment offerings reinforce consumers’ loyalty to using mobile devices (58% of conversations were driven by consumers), and point to opportunities for MasterPass and other digital payment services.

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