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The 3 Consumer Needs Driving Mobile Payments


The past two years have seen a surge in mobile app payments — and left many companies scrambling to upgrade their payments infrastructures.

Understanding what consumers want from mobile app payments is key to immediate and ongoing success. That’s why we commissioned our recent survey, The State of Mobile Payments in 2021, to get the lay of the land.

Below are three of the most important trends our survey uncovered.


People Want to Pay Through Their Devices

More than half (55.2 percent) of respondents pay with mobile apps more frequently now, due to the pandemic. Uptake is set to continue. Almost two-thirds (65.1 percent) of respondents said they expect to see huge growth in app-based payment options in the coming year.

Customers are using these apps for financial tasks besides just making payments. More than 70 percent of respondents said they use payment apps to send and receive money. For many respondents, these apps have all but replaced cash. Almost a quarter said apps have replaced credit cards, too.

The results of our survey align with the experiences of business owners across the country. Take Andrew Laudato, CEO of The Vitamin Shoppe, for instance. His company introduced touchless payments early on in the pandemic at the request of store managers, alongside other touchless technologies like digital receipts.

It took some work to adjust the backend of The Vitamin Shoppe’s payment infrastructure, Laudato says, but customers themselves didn’t need to play catchup. “Customers were already used to using their phone to pay for coffee or in New York City, to get on the subway, so they were pretty well trained when they started using it with us.”



Security and Privacy Are Consumers’ Biggest Concerns

While many consumers are already using mobile payments on a daily basis, concerns about the technology still linger. Chief among them are security and privacy, according to our survey.

A modern payments tool like a digital wallet already has several measures in place to protect consumers, the team at the Identity Theft Resource Center writes. This includes security protocols like two-factor authentication and advanced encryption. Nevertheless, malicious actors will still target these devices, and app users are right to be cautious.

Indeed, cybercriminals are using increasingly complex tactics to target mobile payment app users, says David Keating, commercial director at Intellegens. There are several security risks that both businesses and end-users need to be aware of, but one of the most common is weaknesses within the applications themselves. Caused by vulnerabilities with the app’s programming, these issues must be found and patched as soon as possible to prevent a major data breach.

“These types of attacks are a significant threat for end users, which has led to the Payment Card Industry (PCI) regulator introducing stringent requirements for mobile payment acceptance systems to ensure that it is a secure way to pay, especially as the allowed maximum transaction amounts increase,” Keating adds.


Customer Service Must Be a Priority

Another concern survey respondents highlighted is customer service.

There are several major concerns people have about customer service:

  • More than one-quarter said they didn’t know how to reach a human customer service agent for support.
  • A further 24.5 percent said they were unsure whether a customer service rep would solve their problem anyway.
  • One-fifth didn’t think their apps offered customer service at all.

Even if the user got through to a support person, there could be communication gaps. One-fifth of survey respondents said they were unsure they’d be able to explain their issue to someone because of a lack of information about transactions.

For customer service to be effective, then, consumers will need to trust that they can reach someone when they need help, and they will need to feel able to communicate their issue to that person.

Have a look at The State of Mobile Payments in 2021 report (and accompanying infographic) for more information.


Images by: Blake Wisz, Mika Baumeister

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