We Don't Trust Mobile Payments…Yet


mobile payment trust

A new survey from Ogilvy & Mather sheds some light on consumer confidence in new mobile payment systems — evidently, there’s not too much of it yet, at least not across the board.

It was the three big credit card companies (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express) that actually ranked highest when it came to consumer trust in the relatively new system.  The survey’s results parallel another recent study [Disclosure: This study was commissioned by Liz Claiborne Inc., the sponsor of this site] which found that mobile commerce faces various hurdles (though it’s continuing to grow).

Company-by-company consumer trust in mobile payments. Data courtesy of Ogilvy & Mather; image courtesy of AdAge.

Granted, many consumers may not know that mobile payment start-ups like Square and Google Wallet are partnered with old faithfuls like MasterCard and Visa.  While Square wasn’t included in the survey at all, Google was, and it fared poorly, with a 19.5% confidence vote.  When it comes to marketing, it might work to the newer players’ advantage to really push their partnerships with household names.  Likewise, other, newer businesses in the survey who scored low, like Facebook (with 12% of respondents expressing trust in the company) would also do well to retain and subsequently highlight a payment alliance with a big name.

That said, some of the survey results were harder to parse.  Ebay scored only 15.5%, but their partner, PayPal, came in fourth, just after the credit card companies.  What’s the best way to reconcile those two numbers?  Making a payment on an eBay purchase is basically synonymous with using PayPal.  So, why the discrepancy in confidence?  The stats make the reasoning behind consumer opinion in one company over another seem nebulous at best.

Furthermore, there’s the matter of the post office.  The USPS did well for themselves in this survey, though we’d never expect to see, say, Microsoft joining forces with the mailman.  However, if such an archaic institution still inspires consumer trust, that might be one of the biggest indicators that it could take some time for the newest players, like Facebook and Google, to catch up.  After all, our great-grandparents didn’t trust credit cards when they first emerged, and now look at where the credit card companies stand in consumers’ minds — if there’s one fact to take away from Ogilvy’s study, it’s that the status quo of how we pay for things changes slowly.