Study Finds That 71% Of Mobile Users Ready To Pay Using NFC

The prevailing logic about NFC and “wave and pay” technology for iOS and the iPhone 5 is that it’s not quite ready to go mainstream. But a new study finds that an overwhelming number of mobile users want to begin using their smartphones to pay for goods and services.

we’ve been talking about NFC and the iPhone 5 for almost as long as this blog has been around (since August 10th, 2010, just as a reminder). Considering that Google has already experimented with NFC “wave and pay” technologies in the Android domain — albeit abortively — many feel that it is up to Apple to make NFC payments a reality by perfecting and mainstreaming it on the iPhone 5 (just as consumer expected Apple to mainstream the tablet and are still waiting for the wide launch of 4G LTE.)

Unfortunately, indications from Cupertino have been discouraging when it comes to NFC for the iPhone 5, which has caused its plausibility for the next iPhone to swing wildly over the past year or so. I reported on October 20th on a study finding that there was low consumer demand for NFC in the marketplace, compounded by the fact that a successful NFC implementation is not only about fitting the iPhone 5 with it, but also getting the vast majority of major retailers to invest in it as well. there is also the lingering concern about privacy and interfacing one’s financial details with iOS.

And yet, the NFC rumor has slowly crept back into the conversation.

Charles discovered an interesting angle on NFC back on November 24th, which showed Apple to be looking closely at it for short-term implementation. More recently, MasterCard gave some serious hints that the iPhone could become a short-term contender for NFC technology.

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But perhaps the most compelling news about NFC to come along in quite a long time is a new study, which refutes earlier indications that mobile users aren’t ready for NFC payments. According to Appolicious, “71 percent of smartphone customers are willing to use their smartphones to pay for transactions at physical stores, and 29 percent go to their smartphones for information when shopping. The numbers come from the third quarter of 2011, according to Nielsen, which finds that plenty of users rely on their smartphones for all manner of shopping help.”

Perhaps more compelling than emerging technology rumors or comments from MasterCard executives is this finding, as Apple will undoubtedly take notice and seriously investigate NFC  for the iPhone 5 if they think they can make a big profit from it.

The only thing that could dog Apple in implementing NFC are the continued concerns over privacy and information sharing, which could filter down into discussions and debates about NFC. A few bad PR stories in the early going of NFC for the iPhone 5 could have a devastating impact on its success. It’s a big gamble for Apple, and it could break either way.

By Michael Nace


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