September 14, 2012, 3:10 PM — Apple apparently made the right decision to omit NFC from the iPhone 5, given that 68% of U.S. consumers prefer to buy good using cash and credit cards over mobile wallets, according to a recent consumer survey.
"Consumers aren't ready to abandon their leather wallets for mobile ones," said Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey.com, which conducted the survey of 1,200 U.S. consumers, nearly 70% of whom were smartphone owners. The survey was completed early this month and the results released this week.
Of the 832 of respondents that owned smartphones, 68% answered no when asked: "Would you like to replace the cash you carry with a mobile wallet?"
Tran interpreted the results as confirmation of the conclusions of many analysts that mobile wallets and the near-field communication (NFC) technology are still in their very early days, especially in the U.S.
In other surveys over the past year, American consumers have expressed concern about mobile wallets, at least partly due to security worries.
Apple's iPhone 5 relies on barcode optical scanning of digital tickets, boarding passes and cash cards rather than NFC technology.
However, down the road Apple could turn to Bluetooth 4.0 or another technology in the iPhone 5 to wirelessly transmit payment data, analysts have noted.
"Mobile apps and payment options are very new," Tran wrote in a blog post.
"Since most consumers are not early adopters, they still prefer to shop from PCs and in physical stores instead of from Androids, iPhones and BlackBerries," Tran added.
The CreditDonkey.com survey did find the same security concerns about mobile wallets that other polls have found. Nearly 62% of respondents in the latest survey said mobile phones are not as secure as their wallets.
The survey also found that 67% of consumers surveyed won't be replacing their credit cards with a mobile wallet any time soon.
However, Tran did note that 73% of the smartphone users polled sometimes or always use mobile devices to conduct price comparisons while inside of stores.
Tran added that consumers trust Amazon far more than PayPal or Apple when making online transactions. "If anybody is in position to dominate the mobile payment market, it's Amazon," Tran said in an email to Computerworld.