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Smartphone users love mobile payments

Jul 16, 2013 Dave King

Increasingly, cash is falling out of favor with many of the world's consumers. The option of using credit, debit and ACH cards has opened up a whole new world of convenience for people, but now even more modern ways to conduct transactions are taking hold. With the help of mobile payments technologies, shoppers can buy their morning coffee, engage in ecommerce and comparison shop more easily than ever before.

But everyday consumers aren't the only ones who can reap the benefits of the emerging payment methods. In fact, companies in all industries can harness mobile payments to achieve a competitive advantage over their peers. While widespread use of these new transaction tools does depend on businesses and vendors to supply the right solutions, there's no denying that considering the growing interest in new ways to purchase goods and services, investing in mobile payments is likely to be worthwhile.

On the uptick
According to Internet Retailer, a recent study by Forrester Research revealed that while many American smartphone owners are using their gadgets to make online purchases, the likelihood that they will do so varies by which type of device they favor. Those who owned iPhones outpaced the rest of the mobile phone market in terms of mobile payments habits, with 69 percent claiming that they use these technologies to make purchases. By comparison, 53 percent of Android-powered phone owners said that they make mobile transactions, followed by 35 percent of BlackBerry owners and 32 percent of individuals with Windows Phones.

With these statistics in mind, it's of little surprise that Forrester also discovered that companies are increasingly allocating funds to address the growing mobile payments trend. The majority of businesses said that they already had a mobile site (70 percent) during the first quarter of 2013, compared to 56 percent one year prior. Additionally, 29 percent of respondents who did not yet have one of these offerings asserted that they are planning to build one. Overall, 32 percent of firms stated that they are expecting to spend at least $1 million on mobile strategies in 2013.

Econsultancy noted that even in light of the skyrocketing popularity of mobile payments that is emerging in some other studies, its own research shows that there may still be barriers that need overcoming. For example, while a survey showed that 27 percent of polled smartphone users had shopped online from their phones in the past week, only 51 percent actually went through with a purchase. Within the prior month, 49 percent had completed a transaction from their devices.

What's the holdup?
Mobile payments may be gaining steam among today's consumers, but it appears that there may still be some significant barriers standing in the way of customers seeing their virtual shopping trips through to the end. While abandoned carts are common for online researchers, this doesn't mean that companies shouldn't attempt to develop proactive ways to encourage prospective buyers to take the plunge.

With mobile commerce, the barriers are likely to come in a few forms. For one, many people are still skittish when it comes to entering their financial information into their phones for fear that a compromise could lead to identity theft. In cases like these, a criminal could take out a fraudulent line of credit and do harm to the rightful owner's consumer credit report. In other situations, problems like shopping sites that aren't yet optimized for mobile may put the brakes on a person's desire to buy an item due to poor navigation, unattractive layouts or overly complicated checkout processes.

Organizations can harness consumers' newfound love of mobile payments for everyone's benefit. By working to find solutions that are safe and easy to use, enterprises can better their bottom lines while pleasing customers.