It's only a matter of time before people make purchases by swiping their mobile devices at the register, and according to a new study by MasterCard, young consumers will be the first on the bandwagon.
Many Americans who use a mobile phone would be open to using their devices as a wallet, but tech-savvy youth are, not surprisingly, the most ready to take their transactions to this next level, the MasterCard study found.
A separate 2010 survey conducted by MasterCard Advisors showed this demand has been building for a few years.
Between 2009 and 2010, respondents reported a two-thirds increase in the number of purchases made with their mobile phones (15 percent in 2009 to 25 percent in 2010).
The results indicate how comfortable young consumers are with their phones. For instance, 65 percent of the younger consumers said they feel more naked without their phones than without their wallets, compared with 34 percent of the older respondents.
According to the study, mobile phones are valued not just for the functions they can perform, but for what they seem to say about their users. Over half of respondents (54 percent) said they think you can tell more of someone's personality from their phone than from their wallet.
As mobile payments go mainstream, gender will play a role in how the phones are perceived and used, the study found. While men see their phones as functional necessities, women take a more personal approach to their mobile devices. According to the survey, men tend to be more willing to use their phones for payment transactions, and they perceive the transactions in a positive way.
More men than women who have a mobile phone (51 percent to 40 percent) would be at ease using it to make purchases. Meanwhile, more men than women (49 percent to 45 percent) would be impressed by someone who paid a bill with a mobile application than with a credit card.
Of women, 45 percent (compared to 34 percent of men) would even rather have their phones than their wallets surgically attached so they’d always remember them when leaving the home.