Canadians ‘Less Receptive to Mobile Payments’

Despite reports on the growing use of mobile payments, many Canadians are still reluctant to pay for purchases with their smartphones, suggests a report global research company GfK.

The company, which conducted online surveys with consumers in 17 countries, reports that Canadians are still apprehensive about using their phone in lieu of cash, debit or credit cards. Although Canada’s consumers have developed a reputation for being keen early adopters of technology, they were found to be among the least interested in mobile payments.

Security fears are a factor, says Stephen Popiel, vice-president of consulting for GfK Canada. Canadians may also be less receptive to mobile payments since they already have plenty of ways to pay in stores.

“The automated teller machine [ATM] infrastructure is huge and profound in Canada, even when compared with the US, so the mobile technology itself is partly a solution for a problem that’s not as big of an issue here,” said Popiel. “We have a seamless ATM and debit card structure here and now the tap technology makes it fast and easy to make a lot of small purchases.

“Now we have to train ourselves: don’t use the wallet, pull out my phone, make sure the app is open. We have to get to a position where this technology is as seamless and easy to use as what we’ve been using for the past 15 to 20 years.”

GfK estimates only about 2% of transactions in Canada are currently made with a mobile device, either in store or while online shopping at home. About 21% of the 1,000 Canadians polled by GfK said they had made a mobile payment in the past six months, compared to 24% of western European respondents, 33% of US respondents and 39% of Latin American respondents.

Mobile payments were found to be far more popular in Asia, with 83% of Chinese respondents and 62% of Korean respondents saying they had used a mobile device for a purchase recently.

Of the Canadians polled, about one in three agreed with the statement “mobile payment is more of a gimmick today than a major way I pay” and four in 10 thought “mobile payment technology is still clunky.”

Just over half said they were concerned about the security of mobile payments and putting their personal information at risk.

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