Consumers, businesses not yet prepared for full mobile wallet adoption

Many businesses have been pouring significant amounts of money into the development of mobile wallet systems designed to make credit card purchases using mobile phones easier for consumers to complete, but widespread adoption could still be problematic.

As it stands right now, there is very little to convince experts that consumers or businesses are fully ready for the coming flood of mobile wallet technology that will make credit card purchases with a mobile device the norm, according to a report from the New York Times. Currently, there are only a small number of phones on the market that come with the kind of near-field communications equipment necessary to complete such a transaction, though the more ubiquitous, non-NFC technology has some benefits of its own that many consumers are now tapping into. For instance, phones can display barcode images that allow them to store tickets to sporting events or for airlines on the device rather than being printed out.

But as far as the adoption of mobile wallets goes, most businesses simply aren't ready for it, the report said. This is because it will take a significant amount of new technology to be added to retailers' current payment processing infrastructure, such as point-of-sale readers that can handle both credit cards swiped the traditional way as well as the contactless NFC payments that mobile wallets rely upon.

Developers have to make mobile wallets more attractive
The problem for consumers, though, isn't so much that they don't currently have the technology to adopt mobile wallets available to them, but rather that they haven't been properly incentivized to do so, the report said. Many believe that for consumers to start using NFC payments regularly, the associated programs will need to be linked to rewards or loyalty accounts that give them more of a reason to participate.

"The way that consumers view payments now is not broken," Mark Beccue, a senior analyst for ABI Research, told the newspaper. "For it to motivate [consumers], there has to be something else."

However some experts also note that there are still consumer fears over adopting these types of systems related to the security of them, the report said. For instance, some worry what would happen to their accounts if they were to simply misplace their phone, and others have concerns about the security of the transactions themselves. However, many experts say that these fears are typically assuaged over time, as they are with many other digital financial transactions. Use of mobile wallets for credit card purchases will almost certainly become ubiquitous within the next three or four years as consumers are drawn into its use and find no reason to discontinue it.

For consumers who are concerned about the security of their finances, it may be a good idea to check their credit reports as well. These documents can sometimes contain unfair markings that take a toll on their credit ratings.