Sunday, February 27, 2011

Would you pay bills with your mobile phone?

After feeling some anxiety the first time that I downloaded apps to my iPhone from the App Store (still haven't figured out how to do that for my husband without creating an account for him), I have no qualms about buying software that is appropriate. Or about downloading new books to my Kindle application, which is shared among several of my different portable gadgets.

Indeed, people outside the United States don't think as much about this as we do, from what I hear from my expatriot friends overseas.

A new survey from Accenture suggests that almost half of all active mobile phone or smart phone users (45 percent) would consider using their mobile devices to pay for a purchase or for a service. Although almost three-quarters of those surveyed (1,100 in 11 countries: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States) were concerned about potential privacy breaches or identity theft.

People in Asia were most likely to considering doing this, led by those in China or in India.  In fact, almost half of what Accenture calls the "tech forward" consumers in China had made a purchase on their mobile phone sometime with the six months prior to the survey.

Here are some of the ways that people in Asia used their mobile phone for some sort of commerce:

  • 38 percent used it to scan a product barcode, so they could get more information about the product
  • 36 percent used it to display a "digital ticket" for event admission
  • 31 percent had actually completed a transaction for a physical item

One area where consumers across the board seem more inclined to use their mobile phone for commerce: As a means of showing and redeeming coupons, which sort of stops short of the complete financial transaction happening on their mobile phone.

Personally speaking, the idea of using your mobile phone in this way is something I am very open to, except I worry about two things: What happens when the wireless access isn't working? Do you have to default to a credit card or cash? AND, personally speaking, I'm afraid that I because it's so "easy" I will become a shopaholic.