Consumer attitudes to NFC

Despite all the recent hype around mobile payments and NFC with announcements from Orange and Barclaycard in the UK and Google Wallet launching in the US with Citi and MasterCard there is still a certain amount of skepticism. Consumer attitudes vary quite radically, depending on when they were surveyed (earlier this year or more recently since NFC has become available) and where they live.

While trials have been progressing in Nice in France with Orange, establishing the country as one of the pioneers in NFC, it appears the French are still very conservative. Mais oui! A survey carried out in January this year showed that two thirds opposed the idea of making payments with their mobile phone with 79% of those citing security as the main concern. Those who were in favor of enabling mobile payments claimed the simplicity and speed of the technology were the reasons for their positive attitude.

Luckily, while the French may still be split over the technology, other markets have moved on considerably. Research out this week showed that one in four US consumers are ready to start buying with their NFC mobiles. According to Compete who carried out the research, this represents a ‘significant volume of consumers; beyond the level we’d call early adopters.’

Bearing this in mind, we should embrace a glass half full approach and soldier on in winning further ground in  the war between security versus simplicity. To reach mass adoption consumers need to feel incentivized, be educated on the security measures in place to protect their assets and be able to enjoy the convenience and simplicity that the technology offers. The more all players in the NFC ‘food chain’ help spread the message that the technology is secure, in conjunction with more retailers getting on board and a wider choice of enabled handsets becoming available, the sooner the ‘war’ will be over.

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