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PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Sentiment has improved regarding mobile payments, and rapid growth of the technology is taking place in both consumer use and merchant acceptance, according to the second-annual global MasterCard Mobile Payments Study.
According to the just-released study, which tracked more than 13 million social media comments across Twitter, Facebook, online blogs and forums around the world, 88 percent of merchants gave mobile payments a positive rating. In fact, the research concluded that retailers reluctant to offer mobile payment options could be at a competitive disadvantage.
2013 marked an important transitional year, according to the data, a joint effort by MasterCard Inc. and PRIME Research. Last year, mobile payments transitioned from "concept" to "adoption." "Adopters," or those who have used mobile payment, drove 81 percent of the conversations in 2013. That's a large rise compared to 2012, when only 32 percent of those discussing mobile payments actually used such a product.
Consumers have now moved from asking why they should use mobile payments to determining which mobile payments they should use, according to the research.
"2014 may be the year when long-term mobile brand and shopping allegiances are formed, which means those considering mobile payments may be well-served by getting on board," MasterCard wrote in a news release.
Positive Internet posts by consumers toward mobile payments rose by 16 percent to 74 percent in 2013. Non-adopters are also positive about the technology, rising 3 percent to 79 percent. "This demonstrates that the user experience, technical quality and acceptance network are improving for customers," stated Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard.
However, security remains a primary concern for customers when using mobile payments. Specifically, confusion exists regarding how mobile technology will affect processes to reverse fraudulent and unauthorized charges. Hence, the study's authors concluded that "consumer education efforts will be critical to the success and adoption of mobile payments."
The MasterCard Mobile Payments Study was conducted across 56 markets and 26 languages in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific Rim. PRIME Research identified 13 million relevant mobile payment social media posts from March to December 2013.