Research from security specialist Unisys suggests that consumers remain wary of using their mobile phones as payment mechanisms, driven by concerns over security. Of more than 13,000 mobile subscribers from 14 countries surveyed in March, 71 per cent said that they would not consider using a mobile device to bank or shop online.

Scepticism was highest in France, where 86 per cent expressed their reluctance, while residents of the UK (79 per cent), Australia (78 per cent), Belgium and Italy (both at 77 per cent), and the US (71 per cent), revealed themselves to be extremely cautious towards the concept of mobile payments.

The research also revealed that 59 per cent of the sample did not trust in the security of mobile device for financial services, while only nine per cent of the total base had ever made mobile transactions of this nature. This figure was lowest in the UK, where only one per cent of respondents had used these services.

The survey of German users revealed yielded a more positive outlook. Twenty-one per cent of German respondents currently use a mobile phone or personal organiser to conduct financial transactions, representing the highest percentage of any country or region included in the survey.

Survey results suggested that users are far more willing to trust banks for secure financial transactions than they are to rely on network operators and online retailers, although there were variations region to region. Italians, for example were almost twice as likely as Malaysians (72 per cent to 38 per cent) to trust a bank to secure a mobile transaction.

“Despite unprecedented growth in the number of cell phone users and the advancement of mobile technologies, telecom providers, online retailers, and financial institutions seem unable to convince consumers worldwide that a secure platform exists for conducting online mobile transactions,” said Tim Kelleher, vice president of enterprise security at Unisys. “There is a great deal of money to be made in mobile payments, but only when consumers believe that the security of the transaction meets or exceeds the freedom of using mobile devices.”

Unisys argued that these responses indicated a need for further collaboration between the financial and telecom communities. “The fact that consumers trust banks more than others to secure mobile transactions bodes well for the financial-services industry,” Kelleher said. “But banks must still find ways to work alongside telecom providers and retailers to leverage their innovation while educating consumers on the realities of mobile banking and payment security. Collectively, they must prove that conducting a financial transaction via a mobile device is as secure as doing so on a desktop computer or in front of a bank teller at a local branch.”