Commentary

Retailers & Mobile Payments: Security, Privacy Top the List

Retailers have an eye on mobile payments but see other pressing issues ahead of what customers may be adopting.

More than a third (37%) of retailers already can take some form of payments via smartphones but don’t expect that number to dramatically rise in the near future, based on a recent study.

Making it easier for consumers to pay at least made the list, though not at the top, according to the study Retail Payments: Consumer Control and the Need for Speed by Retail Systems Research.

The study is based on an online survey of 117retail executives with 26% in executive management and 39% directors and managers. Retailers surveyed comprised a mix of company sizes, 35% with revenue of $1 billion or more and 41% with revenue between $6 million up to $1 billion.

Topping the list of payment issues for retailers is protecting against fraud.

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However, mixed into the list of business challenges are issues dealing with how consumers will want to pay. Here are the top retail payment business challenges cited by retailers:

  • 56% -- Protecting against fraud
  • 45% -- Protecting customer payment data
  • 38% -- Ensuring payment card industry security compliance
  • 35% -- Keeping up with consumer adoption of new payment form factors, like in-app purchases and mobile
  • 34% -- Uncertainty about which payment innovation consumers will adopt
  • 30% -- The cost of processing transactions

However, when the retailers who are not doing well are separated from those who are, the picture changes. Those doing well are defined as retailers with higher than the industry average 5% store/channel sales growth and those not doing well are below that in sales growth.

More than half (53%) of unsuccessful retailers feel challenged by the uncertainly about which payment innovations consumers will adopt and almost half (47%) are challenged by keeping up with consumer adoption of new payment form factors, like in-app purchases and mobile.

Slightly more than a third (38%) of successful retailers feels challenged by those two mobile-related issues.

The good news from a mobile payment industry perspective is that more than half (52%) of retailers say they need to make it easier for customers to pay online and on mobile devices.

Consistent with many other studies, the RSR study found security and privacy to be at the top of the list of concerns around payments.

Perhaps in the most telling state of the reality of mobile payments, only 17% of retailers see the future of payments being resolved this year.

We have no doubts on that one.

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