Banks most trusted on mobile payments: Deloitte

Very few customers trust telcos with mobile digital wallets

Australian consumers trust banks the most with mobile payments, according to a Deloitte report released today.

Businesses from a variety of sectors are developing mobile digital wallet services, including banks, telcos, tech companies and credit card companies. However, the banks handily beat the other providers in consumer trust, according to the Deloitte <I>Mobile Consumer 2014</I> report.

Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of consumers surveyed said they trusted their bank in providing a mobile digital wallet service, the report found.

The next most trusted business category was other financial institutions such as Visa or MasterCard, with 26 per cent of respondents saying they would trust this type of company. They were followed closely by money transfer services including PayPal, at 25 per cent.

Very few consumers said they trusted telcos and other network operators (5 per cent), or app store providers like Apple and Google (4 per cent).

Deloitte partner Kate Huggins cautioned that the research was conducted before Apple revealed its mobile wallet, Apple Pay, and said it will be interesting to watch if there is any shift in the numbers in future surveys to reflect the release of this service.

While uptake of mobile payments has been slower than some expected in Australia, Deloitte found that 35 per cent of survey respondents were willing to use their smartphone to pay in shops. More than 60 per cent of this group were between the age of 18 and 24.

More than half of Australians (55 per cent) have used mobile banking in some form on a smartphone. That places Australia in the middle of the pack compared to other countries. Australia beat the US (48 per cent) and Great Britain (47 per cent), but lagged behind countries including Norway (72 per cent) and China (88 per cent).

Checking bank balances was the most common mobile banking practice, with 46 per cent of respondents saying they had used their phones for this purpose. However, nearly one-third said they have transferred money or made an online purchase using their phone.

The inclusion of NFC in the iPhone 6 could drive mobile payments in the year ahead, said Stuart Johnston, Deloitte Technology leader of mobile and telecommunications. So will increasing retail takeup of iBeacons – low-energy connections that can identify and communicate with consumers when they walk into a store – he said.

“If I’ve been looking at content or I’ve been using my mobile phone within the shopping experience, why would I use my credit card?”

The survey focussed on payments by smartphones, but PayPal and others have been exploring payments on wearable devices like smartphones and glasses.

Johnston said it’s still early days for wearables, and he doesn’t expect much near-term impact on payments while most of the devices still require tethering to smartphones.

“Until wearables have NFC or a similar technology integrated in them, probably not,” he said.

For the report, Deloitte surveyed a nationally representative sample of about 2000 Australian consumers aged 18-75. Ipsos, an independent research firm, conducted the field work in May 2014. The report also covers trends in smartphone devices, mobile messaging apps, Wi-Fi versus 4G and social networks on mobile.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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