Consumer sentiment towards mobile payment improves

Consumers are now adopting mobile payment solutions and merchants are increasingly accepting of the technology, but more security information about these systems is required, according to a new study.

A survey from MasterCard and Prime Research, which tracked more than 13 million social media comments across Twitter, Facebook, online blogs and forums around the world, found sentiment towards mobile payments improved year on year in 2013, with conversations on the subject typically moving away from technological confusion and on to product quality.

MasterCard argues that the research highlights how 2013 was the year mobile payments transitioned from "concept to adoption", which tallies with comments recently made by industry consultants in the UK.

Payments Consultancy owner Mark McMurtrie told Essential Retail: "The advanced graphical user interface, touch screen, scanner, camera and communication options have opened up a multitude of new payment solutions and options."

Mark Beresford, director at Edgar, Dunn & Company, added that mobile payments will continue to grow over the next 12 months, but warned: "There is far too much fragmentation in both the technologies and the business models that exist for face-to-face mobile payments.

"It will take some time for a simple and compatible solution that is acceptable to both consumers and retailers."

A recent example of mobile payment technology being introduced came in the form of mobile business platform Znap installing its terminals at Twickenham, the home of the England rugby team. Six of the venue's bars are using the technology in an attempt to minimise queues, with users able to download Znap on their smartphones and pre-pay for refreshments.

The MasterCard-Prime Research study said that adopters of mobile payment technology now drive most of the conversation about the subject on social media (81%), while non-adopters drove 68% of the conversations in 2012. The conclusion drawn from this was that consumers have shifted from discussing mobile payments to actually trying out the various available options.

From assessing the conversations, though, MasterCard also said consumers are still concerned about mobile payment security.

"Consumer education efforts will be critical to the success and adoption of mobile payments," the card company said in a statement.

"Despite robust security, confusion exists on how mobile technology will affect processes to reverse fraudulent and unauthorised charges."

Click here to take a more in-depth look at the study