Security concerns stifle mobile commerce: Survey

Despite the efforts telecommunications carriers have made in increasing the capacity of their wireless cellular networks, a recent survey indicates most Canadians are not using their smart phones or mobile devices for electronic banking or purchases, partly due to security concerns.

Consultancy KPMG announced Wednesday it surveyed about 300 Canadians, eight per cent of whom said they had made purchases using a mobile phone through the Web site of a retailer.

But only 19 per cent of Canadian respondents said they felt “comfortable using their mobile phone for financial transaction,” according to KPMG.

“The dominating results that we’ve seen are a lot of concerns about security and privacy,” said Yvon Audette, national leader of KPMG’s IT advisory services in Canada.

Asked whether the small screens and key pads on handsets are one factor, in addition to security, that’s holding people back, KPMG’ Audette said: “There are other factors, yes”

Audette added older respondents tended to be less concerned about security than younger users, but it turned out older people used fewer mobile applications.

The survey, dubbed Consumers and Convergence IV, was part of a poll of 5,267 users in 22 different countries.

The results are considered to have a 95 per cent probability of being off by no more than 5.7 per cent.

This was the fourth year KPMG conducted the survey. This year, 79 per cent of respondents said they were concerned about unauthorized access to personally identifiable information. In 2008, 73 per cent were concerned.

Worldwide, 90 per cent of respondents said they are either somewhat or very concerned about online security.

“In sum, consumers are becoming more, not less concerned about their information’s security and their personal privacy,” KPMG stated in the report.

The report was wide-ranging and focused on areas other than mobile commerce.

It also covered the issue of news and advertising over the Internet.

Fourteen per cent of respondents said they would be “very willing” to allow their personally identifiable information to be tracked if it meant they would get services for less money or free of charge. Forty-four per cent said they were “somewhat willing” while 42 per cent said they were “not willing at all,” down from 49 per cent in 2008.

“This issue may become increasingly important if new mobile technologies and applications ask consumers to give up more personally identifiable information,” KPMG stated. “With GPS-equipped phones and 3G and 4G mobile apps becoming more prevalent, companies may be able to track not only consumer information and behavior but also location. In order to get consumers to opt-in to this kind of location- and context-based tracking, marketers will almost certainly have to provide something of significant value in return and transparent privacy policies will be key to gain consumer trust.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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