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Money

Germans largely unwilling to use smartphone payment systems

A leading provider of marketing information has found that Germans still have considerable qualms about using smartphones or tablets for making payments in stores. Data security concerns are not the only obstacle.

Smartphone-based payments are widely believed to be convenient and easy, manageable even for people with little technical skills. After all, you don't have to fumble for your wallet or credit card. The result is that more and more companies have lately accepted smartphone or tablet payments in supermarkets and retail chains of all sorts, hoping to attract more customers in the long run.

But a fresh study by market research group Nielsen revealed Wednesday that the majority of Germans didn't think much of using their electronic gadgets for paying for their purchases.

In point of fact, 55 percent of German respondents in an international poll said such payment methods were not an option for them right now, with only 26 percent of them saying they could probably warm to it in future.

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The managing director of Nielsen Germany, Ingo Schier, said he could partly understand the Germans. "There's still a lot of uncertainty about data security," he argued. "And although the software is easy to handle, it's quite a challenge to pick the right app from a broad variety of providers."

Schier added that users had to make an uneasy decision about whom to trust and find out beforehand whether the app in question would actually work in their favorite retail shops, with the industry failing to come up with unified standards.

The study by Nielsen made it clear that Germans' reluctance to use such smart payment methods was not caused by smartphones making inroads too slowly. On the contrary, two thirds of all owners of mobile phones in Germany possessed smartphones last year, with the ratio rising steadily.

The current potential downsides of smartphone-based payments seemed to have little effect on customers in Turkey. There, a stunning 62 percent of respondents were in favor of them, with only 16 percent voicing skepticism.

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