MasterCard has released the findings of a survey that asked consumers how they felt about near field communication (NFC) technology as a simpler payment option using just their smart phones. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results suggest the younger set is more comfortable with the concept of a card-less, cashless transaction. But is that enough for the controversial technology to catch on?
The survey, conducted by Kelton Research, found that 63% of people age 18-34 would be just fine with waving their mobile phone in front of a reader at the check-out counter. Old timers (age 35 and older, natch) were much less supportive: just 37% voiced their support for NFC.
MasterCard said that the results from a previous study which aimed to gauge consumer interest in mobile payment options supported the latest numbers.
Mung Ki Woo, MasterCard Worldwide’s group executive of mobile, pointed out how our cell phones are more and more becoming inexorably connected with our daily lives. NFC, then, is a given he believes.
“Consumers are already living a mobile lifestyle so using their phones to make payments on a daily basis is a natural next step,” said Woo. “2011 is the beginning of the NFC mobile payments era, and consumers are eager to get their hands on the first commercial deployments in the U.S.”
Kelton Research also learned that sex plays a role in how NFC technology is received as a viable choice for consumers: while 51% of men polled said they would use their phone as a credit card, only 40% of women agreed. The survey also discovered more women (50%) than men (36%) said they would feel “exposed” without their phones – more so than if they left their wallets at home.
Room for growth, or evidence that women like to text more than guys?
NFC technology has not taken off just yet, but it’s easy to see why a company like MasterCard would want it to become standard. Convincing people that mobile purchases would be safe and secure is a huge hurdle, however. The notion that close proximity with an NFC reader is enough to trigger a transaction could give pause to consumers already worried about how they’re going to pay their credit card bills. Combined with perpetual concerns over identity theft and credit card fraud (which have not been alleviated in this digital age), and companies face an uphill battle rallying consumers to the contact-less cause.
Some strides have been made – even as the technology struggles to garner mainstream support.
A new NFC payment option is now available for UK residents that allows them to purchase up to £15 worth of products using their smart phones as credit cards, and the demand for NFC chips are predicted to grow exponentially over the next couple years.
Prior to the the iPad 2s launch in March, MyCE reported on an insider rumor that Apple’s revision of its popular tablet would include a chip which enabled users to make wireless purchases. The rumor was promptly squashed by the man that seemingly started it. Similarly, it’s looking unlikely that the tech will make it into the iPhone 5, either. (Via MobileCrunch)
How do you feel about NFC as a payment option? Would you feel safe using your smart phone as a credit card? Let us know in the comment section.