I am always weary of consumer surveys, and this week I have seen countless examples of how the questions can be worded in favour of a desired outcome! The latest was looking at the security of the mobile as a payment vehicle, and just under half showed that “lack of security” as a concern.
As an example of “leading a witness”, compare the following sets of questions, and decide if they take you to a different answer:
- Are you worried about the personal impact of payment fraud on your life?
- Do you think that more should be done to secure your payment information?
- Would you be concerned about all your payment details being sent over the air, and stored in your phone?
- Have you thought what you would do if you lost your phone containing all this sensitive information?
- Do you think that the lack of security is too big a risk to using your phone to make a payment?
- Were you aware that payment fraud has decreased over the last year?
- Do you think that this was due to all the improved security measures?
- Would you be keen on maintaining the level of security, yet making payment faster and more convenient?
- Would you like to securely transfer your card details over the air so that you only have to carry your phone with you?
- Would you be in favour of improving the payment experience through use of your mobile phone?
This is a poor imitation on a “Yes Prime Minister” sketch from 1986 (regarding conscription), but looks to highlight how a survey can lead to a differing conclusion on the same question. I am not suggesting that this was the case with the mobile survey, but it always makes me think twice about the results.
I agree that adoption for mobile payments will be hampered by security, but not necessary the lack of it, but more due to ensuring that the ecosystem meets the needs of our secure payment industry. In Europe, we should be proud of the security measures that are being constantly reviewed and improved through the work of EMV, PCI and other bodies. There is always frustration from merchants as it is easy to dictate regarding the security without worrying about the “real” (often financial) implications of the standards. Innovation in the payment industry can be hampered by security, and mobile payments are no exception!
Security surrounding the phone is a constant discussion point. The deployment model includes careful consideration as to the security aspects involved, and it appears that this is unseen by consumers questioned in the survey. Half of me is pleased that the public are shielded from the complexity of the payment industry, whilst the other half wishes the public knew of how much time is spent on creating a secure solution, so that they could sleep safe at night knowing their mobile payments are protected.
The mobile has become a fundamental way in which we go about our business, and it is not stretching the imagination to see us using it for payments – but first I believe we will see it used it for loyalty, discounting, couponing and vouchers at a point of sale. This is not to say that this area is any less secure, but this space lends itself to the marketing and competitive spirit encouraging innovation. Even today, I can receive or download vouchers to be redeemed at a point of sale using my mobile – this may be currently using barcodes, QR codes or plain text but through our solutions, we will be closing the loop with NFC very shortly.
NFC voucher and coupon redemption will help drive the payment industry in this space. Many of the barriers to adoption are slowly being removed, and the explosion in real-time validation and acceptance of vouchers, coupled with the increasing number of Contactless PIN Pads in the field will further encourage NFC to become second nature. I can hear the same people who are currently scared of mobile payments crying “If I can use my phone for loyalty, why can’t I use it for payments?” Well, first we must diligently work though the security aspects of the solution, and then we will make it a reality.
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