Paying with the mobile phone has not yet become established in Germany. According to an international study by the Custom Research division of the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK), half of the consumers in this country find such offers attractive. The large number of traditional and convenient payment systems such as EC and credit cards mean that interest is lower than in other countries. Decisive success factors for mobile payment systems are trust in the provider and user friendliness.
In addition to pure telephone calls, smartphones now offer inexhaustible application options such as e-mail, internet, navigation and entertainment. The constant companion of modern man can do almost anything. Paying only with the mobile phone in shops is not yet possible – at least not in Germany. The technology for such offers has been available for years and has already been tested in other countries such as Japan and South Korea. So-called Near Field Communication (NFC) chips in cell phones make it possible to send amounts of money to devices in the immediate vicinity. For example, to the cash register in a shop or another mobile phone.
There is interest in mobile payment worldwide, but it differs significantly from country to country. As the study carried out by GfK Custom Research in Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, South Korea, China and the USA shows, an average of 62 percent of consumers rate mobile payment offers as attractive. In Germany, the value is slightly lower at 56 percent. In contrast, consumers in China (82 percent) and Brazil (73 percent) are far more enthusiastic about mobile payments. In these countries, however, nationwide payment systems using credit or bank cards are also much less established. But even among Germans there are clear differences: men are more interested in mobile payment than women. Age is also an important factor: Among the 16 to 24 year olds, 75 percent of those surveyed considered a possible mobile payment offer to be attractive. For people between 25 and 54, the value is only around 58 percent, from the age of 55 the interest decreases rapidly.
In the past, an imminent breakthrough for mobile payment based on NFC technology has been prophesied time and again. In most countries, however, there has been a lack of cooperation between network operators, financial institutions and cell phone manufacturers to make the system a success. For the individual actors, the main question is who will ultimately have the leading role in contact with the customer. They could benefit in different ways. For banks, mobile payment would be a necessary evolutionary step towards an attractive, future-oriented offer. Anyone who positions themselves here can sustainably modernize their image. For the operators of the mobile radio networks, mobile payment offers the possibility of tapping a new source of income in addition to the established voice, text and data services.
But with which of the potential providers of mobile payment offers do consumers feel most secure? According to the study, it is primarily financial service providers that score points around the world, and banks in particular enjoy a great deal of trust. On average in all the countries surveyed, 73 percent of those surveyed stated that they trust banks as mobile payment providers. In Germany, the value is even significantly higher at 86 percent. Credit card companies achieved a figure of 71 percent among Germans, and mobile network operators still 63 percent. 74 percent of Germans would trust a cooperation between banks and mobile network operators as providers of mobile payments. On an international average, 66 percent of those surveyed rated such a cooperation as instilling trust. The example of Spain shows that cooperation pays off. A total of 72 percent of Spaniards found mobile payment offers to be attractive, compared with 56 percent in this country. The reasons are complex. On the one hand, a number of Spanish banks have already tested mobile payment offers and strongly advertised them. However, cooperation between the leading Spanish mobile network operators is particularly important in order to be able to offer consumers standardized and simplified NFC technology.