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Security concerns stifling m-commerce growth

31 October 2011 - 09:33 by Mike Price

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Mobile users are cautious about increasing the frequency with which they use their smartphones for safe shopping online because of fears about handset security measures, according to a study conducted by analyst firm, Intersperience.

A thousand consumers were questioned as part of the study and it found that just under a fifth feel comfortable with the idea of using NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to turn their mobiles into digital wallets.

Meanwhile, 44 per cent of mobile users said that they were put off using m-commerce sites and services for safe shopping online or in high street stores, because they feel that there is not enough security software to prevent malicious manipulation by third parties.

Twenty-one per cent of respondents said that they were thinking about using their smartphones to make a payment in the future, although only eight per cent had actually done so at the time of the study.

The youngest demographics are far happier to part with their cash via mobile payments, with 33 per cent of the under 18s saying that they are in favour of the technology. Intersperience spokesperson, Paul Hudson, explained that the concerns of UK consumers surrounding the potential for phone hacking and financial fallout were a very real threat to the growth of m-commerce.

Adults are far more cautious about the way they use their smartphones, while youngsters who have grown up with such technology find it second nature to pay for products and services from their mobiles, according to Mr Hudson.

Despite this, a report published last week suggests that m-commerce could be used to make almost £20 billion of sales by the year 2021, a tenfold increase over its current levels. This means retailers are investing heavily in improving their m-commerce services, which should include enhanced security measures to allay hacking fears.