Consumers 'receptive but concerned' by mobile phone payments

Many Australians are open to the possibility of using their mobile phones as payment methods, but current awareness about how to do so is low, new research has found.

A qualitative study by the Australia Communications and Media Authority revealed that while premium SMS was the best established mobile payment method, it was not widely regarded as such, with the channel seen more as a way of purchasing digital content like ringtones, wallpapers or for voting on TV shows and entering competitions, Digital Media reported.

In addition, the research found that "Tweenies", namely those aged between eight and 14 years, were considered most likely to be targeted for using premium SMS services with many regarding this age group to be vulnerable to manipulation, particularly as they lack easy access and control over other forms of payment such as credit cards.

As Digital Media noted, there has been "somewhat of a backlash" against premium SMS recently following tales of unexpectedly large bills accumulated without users’ full knowledge. Those seeking a safer spending tool may wish to compare debit cards or other financial products in search of better options.

Last week, Visa launched its payclick prepay system in a bid to make online shopping more secure.

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