Mobile payment offers users a convenient way to complete transactions. Maturing technology solutions and the widespread popularity of mobile devices has made mobile payment one of the next big changes for the consumer market. Yet not all users are quick to adopt such innovative technology. To understand differences in terms of how users adopt mobile payment technology, recent research highlights the importance of a user’s previous internet experience.
By studying user perceptions of mobile payment and comparing it to each user’s internet experience, Jie Yann offers us insights to facilitate adoption of this new technology. The associate professor of technology management at Grenoble Ecole de Management explains:
"The first interesting point is that users who have had positive experiences with the internet and online payment are more willing to adopt mobile payment options. As with any new technology, there are a variety of barriers that can influence whether or not users are willing to adopt a new solution."
5 essential user perceptions
To understand why internet experience plays an important role in the adoption of mobile payment solutions, Jie highlights five perceptions that influence a user's decision to adopt mobile payment services.
- Privacy: Users with positive internet experience have fewer privacy concerns as they are already used to this topic thanks to their use of the internet.
- Risk: Users who have successfully completed online transactions are less afraid of mobile payment. Users with no previous internet experience can have fears such as losing bank data, access to their accounts or their money.
- Compatibility: Online transactions are quite similar to mobile payments methods. As a result, users whose lifestyle already includes online transactions, generally feel comfortable integrating mobile payment.
- Usefulness: In mobile payment, usefulness refers to a solution's ability to increase the performance of transactions. For example, users who find online shopping to be efficient can be quicker to accept the efficiency of mobile payment options.
- Ease of use: Like with the adoption of any new technology, ease of use is an essential factor. As online transactions and mobile payment options are quite similar, the ease of use for an experienced internet user is much higher than for someone who has no knowledge of internet activities.
How to encourage the adoption of mobile payment?
Companies will smooth the adoption of mobile payment technology if they are able to ensure their users have positive experiences in terms of the five perceptions mentioned above. Jie goes on to add:
“The adoption of innovative technology is always a challenge. However, businesses can facilitate the process by building on their pre-existing solutions. If you create a product from thin air, it can be very hard to have users adopt it. With mobile payment, if you’re able to present it as a logical extension of your pre-existing online activities, it will be easier for users to understand. Another important factor is ensuring users are already familiar with the hardware required for mobile payment (e.g., smartphones).”
Different challenges for different regions
Another important factor for mobile payment is a user’s need. Jie underlines the fact that needs vary from region to region.
“In China, mobile payment is being adopted very quickly in comparison to Europe and the U.S. It’s interesting to understand this difference. In Europe and the U.S., financial institutions and payment methods (i.e., banks, credit cards, etc.) have been well established for quite some time. These solutions work quite well, and as a result, the need for innovative mobile payment technology is not very high. In contrast, China relied on cash for a very long time and the use of financial institutions and services is not as widespread. The result is that services such as Alipay and Wechat pay are gaining popularity in China much quicker than their Western counterparts. It’s what is known as the latecomer advantage!” concludes Jie.