12% Use Mobile for Big Ticket Purchases

There are mobile payments and then there are the activities of buying things using a mobile phone.

While much is written and said about mobile payments, especially since the launch of Apple Pay and the preeminent rumored introduction of Samsung’s mobile payments system next month, the actual purchasing of things by phones is often overshadowed.

Mobile payments can make checkout at places such as stores and restaurants a bit more efficient and relatively low risk, especially since substantial amounts of money are typically not changing hands.

But when it comes to spending serious money, like getting a mortgage or buying stocks, insurance or even a car, mobile is understandably hardly the first choice, according to a new survey.

The study was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates for Bankrate and comprised a telephone interview of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults. Of those surveyed, 657 said they were mobile internet users

The survey found that the frequency of making a major financial commitment though a mobile device is not so high, with only 12% regularly spending that way. Here’s how often consumers say they tap their phones or tablets for a major spend:

  • 6% -- Most of the time
  • 6% -- Always
  • 14% -- Some of the time
  • 24% -- Rarely
  • 50% -- Never

There may be some differences in approach based on demographics, since more than half (58%) of those between the ages of 30 and 49 said they have made at least one large purchase via mobile.

As you might guess, security is at the top of the list of why consumers haven’t made a major purchase with their mobile device. Here are the reasons:

  • 41% -- Security
  • 27% -- Ease of use
  • 13% -- Someone else makes household decisions
  • 3% -- Don’t know how

The practical reality is that there are ways to spend big money other than through a phone, with more than a quarter (27%) of those surveyed saying other ways are easier.

Consumers may increasingly use their phones to spend money, but the size of the transaction, at least for now, seems to have a cap.


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