Study: Users OK with mobile devices for sensitive transactions

Research finds most U.S. mobile-device users would bank, make purchases with a smartphone. But younger people are more likely to feel secure

Most mobile device users worldwide feel safe using their mobile devices for applications that involve highly-sensitive information, including accessing airline boarding passes; making payments in stores for low-cost items; or to access online banking, according to research conducted by Unisys Corporation. But acceptance levels vary by age, with younger users more comfortable conducting sensitive mobile transactions compared to older users.

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The research, part of a bi-annual survey of more than 10,000 people in 11 countries called the Unisys Security Index, found that 83 percent of mobile device users in the United States said they would be comfortable using their device for these kinds of transactions. The numbers were similar in Spain (80 percent) and the United Kingdom (75 percent). About half of device users from the Netherlands (49 percent), Belgium (51 percent) and Germany (52 percent) said they would feel safe using mobile devices for these same services.

Of the 80 percent of Americans who said they own cell phones or handheld devices, 40 percent said they would feel safe using these devices to receive notifications if their credit cards are charged more than a specified amount. And 38 percent said they would feel safe using them to purchase cinema, sporting event or theater tickets.

While there was broad acceptance among device users towards one or more of the applications, users' responses frequently differed as to which of the applications they would feel safe using on their mobile devices. However, there was greater confidence in the security of mobile devices across the board among younger consumers. For example, 76 percent of UK citizens 18-24 years-old said they would feel secure using their mobile devices as airline boarding passes, compared to just under half of all UK device users (49 percent). In the U.S., 53 percent of consumers aged 18-34 years-old said they would feel safe using them to purchase theater, sports or cinema tickets, compared to 38 percent acceptance rate for U.S. citizens overall.

"The majority of mobile device users worldwide feels safe using these devices for financial, travel or purchasing related applications. In addition, comfort levels are higher among younger adults, suggesting that acceptance of these mobile applications will grow in the future," said Mark Cohn, vice president of enterprise security, Unisys, in a statement on the findings.

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