October 20, 2011, 9:33 AM

Consumer demand is driving U.K. retailers to accept mobile transactions

63% of shoppers rank mobile wallets as their ideal way to pay with their phone.

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U.K. shoppers are itching to use their mobile phones to pay when shopping with their mobile phones, according to a new survey conducted by payment processor WorldPay.

63% of shoppers rank mobile wallets as their ideal way to pay when shopping with their phones either in store or online via a retailer’s mobile web site. A mobile wallet is a smartphone-based account that connects to a consumer’s credit card or checking account.

U.K. merchants are taking note. A WorldPay survey of 109 senior managers found that while only 29% of retailers currently offer consumers way to easily pay with their mobile phones, 80% say they plan to add more mobile offerings, such as enabling consumers to pay using a mobile wallet, in the next 24 months. Another 14% plan to add such features in the next three to four years.

Those efforts are necessary, says Gabriel Hopkins, WorldPay’s head of e-commerce products. While only 25% of Britons use their mobile device to shop, that figure stands to grow quickly—particularly if retailers make mobile shopping easier, he says.

Consumers are often frustrated by the mobile shopping experience, he says. 39% of smartphone shoppers say they are frustrated by the length of the process when buying items via their mobile device and 38% are frustrated by the amount of information they must enter when checking out.

“Making the checkout process as seamless and straightforward as possible is still a work in progress for many companies that are implementing mobile payment offerings, especially as new devices continue to crop up,” he says.

However, many merchants say they need to resolve their concerns before they pursue a mobile offering. For instance, 18% of the managers are concerned about data security from mobile transactions and 8% say fraud is a primary concern.

“Clearly much needs to be done to deal with these challenges,” says Hopkins. “However, with the massive growth in smarthphone ownership fuelling demand and new m-commerce solutions being developed all the time, retailers are now in a much better position to make m-commerce offerings visible within the next 24 months.”

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