Don't expect the phone to replace the wallet soon

Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:46pm EST
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By Dhanya Skariachan and Joe Rauch

(Reuters) - Don't throw your wallet away yet.

Many big-name retailers from Gap to Toys R Us are partnering with banks, payment processors and Google to let shoppers tap their mobile phones instead of swiping their credit cards to pay for goods. But the new mode of payment is not expected to take off in earnest for at least another couple of years.

A KPMG study released on Wednesday found only 23 percent of consumers were willing to use their mobile phone in place of other forms of payment, with 30 percent of younger adults much more willing to do so.

And that means that all those hopes of retailers becoming more efficient at checkout and banks finding another revenue stream won't be a reality soon.

Shoppers in cities such as New York, San Francisco and Chicago are warming up to the idea of paying by phone, but it will still take another two to four years for widespread adoption, potential participants in the mobile payment industry said.

One major obstacle to universal adoption of the new payment method is doubt among consumers and some companies that paying with one's smart phone is secure and easier than using a credit or debit card or cash.

Jack Koenig, a 52-year-old Broadway actor and New York resident, said he would wait for a while before he tested it.

"I am in no rush. What is the advantage per se? Is it really that much more convenient for me? I don't really think so," Koenig said. "If you lose your phone, you will be screwed."   Continued...