As a consumer on the cusp of Gen X/Y, I am not afraid of using my smartphone to make mobile payments. I just do not have a need to use them. I use my smartphone mainly as a method of personal communication. I use online banking almost exclusively and I shop online with alarming frequency, but I use my personal PC for those things. I see people every day using their smartphones to pay for coffee or lunch with various mobile payment applications. And while I admit to being intrigued by the novelty of paying with your mobile phone, that’s as far as it goes for me. I am perfectly content to pay with cash, debit or credit card and do not feel paying with my phone would save much time.
As I think about what would cause me to change my behavior and become an avid user of mobile payments, it would have to stem from feeling left out or left behind. I do not yet have the sense that I am missing out on something, though I am aware my behavior does not seem in line with what demographics would suggest for a person in their thirties with a heavy reliance on online commerce.
I shop through all available avenues except my smartphone. My smartphone is part of my shopping experience only in that I use it to check my e-mail for a multitude of coupon codes and online receipts that I receive. I use the internet on my personal computer or tablet to visit my favorite stores and flash sale web sites. I am a loyal customer to my favorite brands and sites. My credit card information is stored on all of these web sites and provides an acceptable level of convenience for me. When I venture into my favorite department store with time to shop for shoes, I enjoy how the salesperson can complete my transaction on the spot using their smartphone or tablet without my having to slip off the new beauties and actually walk to the register. I can still be admiring the new shoes on my feet as the salesperson swipes my card, e-mails me the receipt and moves on. That whole experience feels really “mobile” to me even if it does not meet the official criteria of me having to initiate the action with my mobile phone.
I have no fear of my credit card information being in cyberspace. I do not believe I currently have any level of consumer privacy. I have some concerns about that, but I feel powerless to do anything about the data maintaining corporate giants. I know that my favorite stores and my credit card companies are aware of everything I buy, how often, and perhaps even know more about the “why’s” of my shopping habits than I do. I find that less annoying than waiting for the person in front of me to open an app so they can “Level Up” while I’ve already been holding exactly $3.05 in my hand to pay for my latte.The only level of privacy I feel using a computer to shop versus my smartphone is that no one else can actually physically “see” me and witness my online shopping behavior.I felt embarrassed for the woman I recently witnessed shopping for a bathing suit on her smartphone while I was looking over her shoulder on the commuter rail.I would not want fellow passengers to watch me shopping, not to mention the signal on my smartphone goes in and out the train which would frustrate me if I ever needed to conduct a mobile transaction.
The only scenario I can imagine that would drive me to start making mobile payments would be one in which a favorite store or brand offered excellent deals accessible only through a mobile wallet, then I would start using one immediately.
The barriers to my adoption of mobile payments might be minimal, but for now I am happy to remain a dedicated, old-fashioned internet shopper using my computer.