Consumers shun mobile payment

Those in Malaysia and Singapore are most open to using mobile devices for banking or retail transactions, but the majority is averse to the idea, finds new study.

Consumers in Malaysia and Singapore are the most open to using their mobile devices to make monetary transactions, according to a new study of 14 countries.

The findings were part of the Unisys Security Index conducted in March, which surveyed 13,296 respondents aged 18 to 64 from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and United States.

The Unisys Security Index is conducted twice a year, covering areas including epidemics, financial fraud, online security and identity theft.

Slightly more than a quarter of the 872 respondents in Malaysia indicated that they would consider using a mobile phone or PDA to pay bills, perform banking transactions or shop online--the highest percentage in all the countries.

Over in Singapore, 19 percent of the 909 participants said the same. Only 12 percent of Hong Kong respondents would consider transacting via their mobiles, although 16 percent indicated they were already using these devices to perform online transactions.

However, mobile payment is still not accepted by most worldwide as a secure mode for financial transactions.

About 70 percent of those polled from Hong Kong and Singapore indicated that they would not consider using mobile devices to conduct financial transactions. An average of 71 percent of respondents in the 14 countries were resistant to the idea.

On the other hand, just over half (56 percent) of Malaysian respondents said they would not use their mobiles for transactions.

"Despite unprecedented growth in the number of cell phone users and the advancement of mobile technologies, telecom providers, online retailers and financial institutions seem unable to convince consumers worldwide that a secure platform exists for conducting online mobile transactions," Tim Kelleher, vice president of enterprise security at Unisys, said in a company statement late Wednesday.

"There is a great deal of money to be made in mobile payments, but only when consumers believe that the security of the transaction meets or exceeds the freedom of using mobile devices."

Users in the 14 countries said banks were the most secure service providers, compared with telcos and online retailers.

In the overall study, Hong Kong and Singapore topped the Unisys Security Index with scores of 189 and 176, respectively, out of a total of 300. Unisys reported that the Hong Kong population's concerns over the security of online shopping and banking has led to a slight jump in its security index.

In Singapore, consumers continue to worry about identity theft.

Malaysia's security index stood at 164, its lowest since 2006, due to easing concerns over financial and Internet-related security.

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