Security fears wrecking trust in mobile finance, survey finds

Smartphones not wallets

A spot survey of UK smartphone users has uncovered a cool attitude to mobile banking with security worries cited as the main reason for users' reluctance.

Using a reasonable sample of 2,148 adults, YouGov found that 80 percent either didn't or barely used mobiles for banking or financial transactions, with 58 percent seeing themselves unlikely to use a mobile as a wallet even if that feature was made available.

More than half cited security concerns as the primary reason, ahead of the 35 percent who found smartphoen screens too small to use and the 20 percent who believed the online security checks were a major inconvenience.

Underlining the work the industry has to do, a further ten percent were unimpressed by the quality of the mobile banking apps they had encountered.

"Customers still have a lack of trust in mobile banking security which banks need to overcome by providing reassurance of security while at the same time making security procedures intuitive and easy to use," commented Iain Regan of Firstsource Solutions, whose company sponsored the survey.

"This is quite a challenge that will need banks, software developers, security experts, as well as customer service specialists to collaborate in order to convince their customers to adopt mobile banking services," he said.

On a positive note, younger users tended to be more receptive, with 42 of 18-24 year olds saying they would be willing to use their mobile as a credit card if able to. Again, however, the majority who were less keen cited security as their worry.

For this reason, half of respondents would be willing to load up their phones with a barely-usable £5.

The short-term losers from all this could be the companies that have invested in mobile wallet technology, including Apple, Mastercard and Visa as well as the multitude of smaller vendors supplying different elements of the technology chain. Mobile networks also want to get in on the business. The banks, meanwhile, almost seem to see mobile banking as an encumbrance.