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On-the-Go Mobile Phone Purchases to Rise

A new Harris Interactive study finds that mobile phone users are increasingly comfortable making banking and purchase transactions while on-the-go -- a virtual unknown until now.

The survey finds 16 percent of mobile phone subscribers already use mobile banking services, with 60 percent of these people using the services at least once a week. Many others presently not banking and buying on-the-go expressed interest in mobile banking, with 35 percent open to checking bank account balances and transferring funds via their mobile devices. A third of those surveyed (33 percent) also said they would like to receive text message alerts from their financial institutions.

The survey also finds that on-the-go mobile purchases are on the rise. About 25 percent of mobile phone users with mobile access to the Internet now use their devices to buy goods and services online via a credit card.

One in five respondents (20 percent) said they would like to someday use their phones like a mobile-wallet, where charges would be billed directly to their mobile accounts. In addition, ten percent of the survey participants said they would consider wire transfers and stock trading via their mobile phones.

"Today's mobile devices are the springboard for a whole raft of services, with huge pent-up demand for mobile commerce capabilities," said Joseph Porus, vice president, Harris Interactive. "If security concerns can be quelled, the sky's the limit with consumer acceptance of mobile banking and purchase transactions. It's a very intriguing prospect for the near future, considering how people have already embraced a variety of mobile technologies beyond simple phone communications."

Among those surveyed, the biggest barrier affecting consumer acceptance of mobile banking and commerce is security concerns over personal data. Two-thirds (66 percent) of those interviewed express apprehension about using their mobile phone to transmit sensitive financial information.

Nearly the same percentage, (63 percent) report fears about this medium exposing them to potential fraud and financial scams. Sixty-one percent also worry about losing a mobile phone containing personal financial information. Other consumer concerns with mobile commerce include questions about usability (43 percent), reliability (37 percent) and the speed of the wireless network (23 percent).

"While the survey indicates people have concerns associated with using mobile devices for financial transactions, it's similar to the evolution of the Internet as a viable tool for banking and buying," Porus continued, "We expect mobile technology to only improve and become even more secure in the coming years. This should ease people's fears and make mobile commerce appealing in the future."

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