As mobile technology begins to play a larger role in the way Americans communicate, bank and conduct financial transactions, industry analysts say smartphones may soon emerge as an "all-in-one" payment device.
Experts came to that theory after looking at several reports that highlight the myriad of ways smartphones are taking the place of traditional payment methods. A string of Pew Internet surveys demonstrate that nearly one in 10 individuals have used their mobile device to make charitable contributions, and almost 50 percent have purchased apps via their smartphone. In addition, more than one-third of users rely on their smartphones for bill pay and checking their balances.
Professionals also analyzed a separate Federal Reserve study which showed 21 percent of consumers have utilized mobile banking services in the past, with 11 percent saying they also plan on using them in the next 12 months. The most common mobile banking actions Americans take using their smartphones include checking balances, transferring funds and making payments.
Some analysts say mobile phone use for financial services will continue to expand as systems are developed that integrate several different payment options, such as the Google Wallet. This system allows consumers to input credit and bank account information into their phones to make "on-the-go" payments. Developers hope that the added convenience these systems afford consumers will push more individuals who do not currently own smartphones to purchase them in the near future. However, there is a split between experts who say more consumers will eventually adopt mobile payment technology for its convenience, and those who say that security concerns will continue to hinder widespread adoption.
Thirty-three percent of study participants said that the below statement highlights the reasons mobile technology will remain slow in the future and credit and debit cards will remain relevant payment methods.
"People will not trust the use of near-field communications devices and there will not be major conversion of money to an all-digital-all-the-time format. By 2020, payments through the use of mobile devices will not have gained a lot of traction as a method for transactions. The security implications raise too many concerns among consumers about the safety of their money. And people are resistant to letting technology companies learn even more about their personal purchasing habits."