Could smartphones soon spell the end for card payments?

smartphone-hand-300Trains full of commuters tapping away, diners sitting in silence staring at their screens – some may think smartphones are getting the better of us.

However, Experian research has found that one in three Britons (33 per cent) believe that paying with a smartphone will take over from credit and debit card payments as the preferred method of payment by 2020.*

While cash and card payments are still the dominant force now, the survey found that people think the next five years will see a major shift, with 67% saying that cash will decrease in popularity, while two in five (41 per cent) think the use of credit and debit cards will plummet.

Fear of fraud is the driving force
However, it turns out that the main reason why smartphone payments are not currently the preferred method of payment at the moment is a fear of fraud.  Almost half the people surveyed (46 per cent) worry that their identity may be stolen online, while 60 per cent of smartphone users said they had no malware protection on their devices, leaving them vulnerable to cyber criminals. Indeed, one in six adults has fallen victim to a cyber-attack via their mobile device.**

Choice is increasing all the time
There is arguably more choice in method of payments than ever before. Secure online platforms such as Paypal, that let people shop using their debit card, credit card or bank account without sharing their financial details, will become more popular by 2020 say four in five people.

Other types of payment that people can foresee gaining in popularity are biometrics, such as retina or fingerprint scans, and voice authentication. But ultimately their decision will be based on the ability to pay for something, securely, anywhere and at any time at their own ease and convenience. 

How you can better protect your smartphone device
Applying for a mobile phone contract is not really much different than applying to a credit card provider or a bank – they are normally going to look at the information on your application form and in your Experian Credit Report to give you a credit score. 

Smartphones can hold a wealth of information, from cached passwords to online accounts and apps, contacts and other personal information. As paying for goods and services by smartphone increases, it’s worth remembering some useful tips:

  1. Always use a home screen lock on your mobile device.
  2. Don’t store account names and passwords or digital pictures of your passport.
  3. Remember that public Wi-Fi networks are riskier than private networks, so be careful with the information you access and share when out and about, and avoid using any password-protected sites or information.
  4. Make sure you can’t be overlooked when you make a mobile payment.
  5. Make sure you are using the built-in security tools and settings on your device. And if possible, install the latest anti-virus and firewall software.

*Opinium research conducted 2,004 online interviews amongst UK adults (aged 18+) between 19th August and 22nd August 2014. Results have been weighted to be nationally representative.

 **Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,002 UK adults aged 18+ in July 2014. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria. 

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