Survey: Convenience driving consumer interest in NFC-based mobile wallets

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Close to 50 percent of U.S. smartphone owners find Near Field Communications-enabled mobile wallet applications appealing, according to a new survey conducted by market research and consulting firm Parks Associates. "The convenience of e-wallet solutions, specifically for eliminating the need to carry multiple or any credit cards, is driving the majority of consumer interest," said Parks Associates director of mobile research Harry Wang in a statement.

The Parks Associates survey reveals that 16 percent of U.S. smartphone owners already use PayPal or other types of mobile wallet solutions as their preferred method for making mobile payments--in addition, one in four millennial-aged consumers regularly access their phones to research products or services prior to making a purchase. The survey adds that these factors will create a mobile commerce opportunity of more than $800 billion U.S. in 2015.

In September, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) formally launched its NFC-based Google Wallet, enabling Android Nexus S smartphone owners to make purchases by tapping their Android smartphone at 300,000-plus MasterCard PayPass-enabled merchant terminals. Google has since added support for SingleTap, which enables consumers to redeem coupons and/or earn rewards points with one tap of their device, and is also partnering with the state of New Jersey to enable tap-and-pay rail and bus transit purchases at select locations.

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA reportedly plan to invest roughly $100 million in an effort to roll out Isis, their own nationwide NFC-based m-commerce network, which is slated to launch trials in early-to-mid-2012. The operators first announced Isis in late 2010, promising services enabling consumers to conduct point-of-sale transactions, redeem coupons and use store merchant loyalty cards via mobile device. In May, Isis said it would open its system to all interested credit issuers and banks.

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