Want to grab that purchase and go? You’re not alone. Today more than ever, people are living an increasingly digital – and mobile – life and they expect their ability to pay for their needs and wants to match that same “always on” mindset, according to social media conversations identified in the 2019 edition of the Mastercard Digital Payments Study. The research was released at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week.
Mobile payments represented more than 30 percent of the total social media conversation around payments in the Middle East and Africa, with total mentions doubling over the prior year.
Now in its sixth year, the study, developed in partnership with PRIME Research, analysed more than 3.3 million conversations globally and 90,000 conversations in the Middle East and Africa from the past year, across social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Weibo.
Interest in New Technologies
People are looking to newer technologies to have an impact on their lives. In the past year alone, such mentions on social media increased 30 percent globally since the last study. Today, nearly 20 percent of all mobile commerce payments are focused on contactless payments and mobile wallets. Beyond these primary focus areas, consumers are interested in how artificial intelligence, QR payments and wearable payments will impact their lives.
Overall, people are increasingly positive toward these newer technologies. In the Middle East and Africa, virtually all (95 percent) mobile wallet conversations were favorable, with 22 percent of posts praising the speed, efficiency and simplicity of these products.
“In the fast-evolving world of digital payments, it is crucial that we listen and understand the views of the people who ultimately use our solutions. The Mastercard Digital Payments Study highlights a willingness to adopt the latest payment technology solutions from users across the Middle East and Africa, and reinforces the increasingly important role that mobile payments play in everyday life,” said Gaurang Shah, senior vice president of Product Management, Digital Payments & Labs for the Middle East and Africa at Mastercard.
Primed for Action with Peace of Mind
Among the conversations analyzed, consumers clearly continued to be focused on the security of their money and their data as a foundational requirement. In their posts, people recognize the value of new technologies on delivering this peace of mind across mobile payments.
Looking at the newer technologies:
- Biometrics reached a potential 111 million, driven primarily by an interest in voice payments and fingerprint scanners
- Tokenization – and its critical role in supporting and protecting payments of all type – was featured in conversations reaching a potential audience of 11 million viewers
While breaking news around data breaches drove one-fifth of data-related conversations, another 13 percent of these conversations noted the potential of digital security technologies, including blockchain, tokenization and biometrics.
Huge appetite for foldable phones – when prices fall
Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have all shown their cards, but consumers are concerned about durability, size, and enhanced use cases, according to Strategy Analytics
Foldable devices are a long-awaited disrupter in the smartphone market, exciting leading-edge early adopters keen for a bold new type of device. But the acceptance of foldable devices by mainstream segments will depend on the extent to which the current barriers to adoption are addressed.
Major brands have been throwing their foldable bets into the hat to see what the market wants from a foldable, namely how big the screens should be and how the devices should fold. Samsung and Huawei have both designed devices that unfold from smartphones to tablets, each with their own method of how the devices go about folding. Motorola has recently designed a smartphone that folds in half, and it resembles a flip phone.
Assessing consumer desire for foldable smartphones, a new report from the User Experience Strategies group at Strategy Analytics has found that the perceived value of the foldable form does not outweigh the added cost.
Key report findings include:
- The idea of having a larger-displayed smartphone in a portable size is perceived as valuable to the vast majority of consumers in the UK and the US. But, willingness to pay extra for a foldable device does not align with the desire to purchase one. Manufacturers must understand that there will be low sell-through until costs come down.
- But as the acceptance for traditional smartphone display sizes continues to increase, so does the imposed friction of trying to use them one-handed. Unless a foldable phone has a wider folded state, entering text when closed is too cumbersome, forcing users to utilize two hands to enter text, when in the opened state.
- Use cases need to be adequately demonstrated for consumers to fully understand and appreciate the potential for a foldable phone, though their priorities seemed fixed on promoting ‘two devices in one’ equaling a better video viewing experience. Identification and promotion of meaningful new use cases will be vital to success.
Christopher Dodge, Associate Director, UXIP and report author said: “As multitasking will look to be a core selling point for foldable phones, it is imperative that the execution be simplified and intuitive. Our data suggests there are a lot of uncertainties that come with foldable phone ownership, stemming mainly from concerns with durability and size, in addition to concerns over enhanced use cases.
“But our data also shows that when the consumers are able to use a foldable phone in hand, there is a solid reduction of doubt and concern about the concept. This means that the in-store experience may more important than ever in driving awareness, capabilities, and potential use cases.”
Said Paul Brown, Director, UXIP: “The big question is whether the perceived value will outweigh the added cost; and the initial response from consumers is ‘no.’ The ability for foldable displays to resolve real consumer pain-points is, in our view critical to whether these devices will become a niche segment of the smartphone market or the dominant form-factor of the future. Until costs come down, these devices will not take off.”
New exploit exposes credit cards on mobile phones
Check Point Security has found that handsets using Qualcomm chipsets that hold credit and debit card credentials are at risk of a new exploit.
Now it’s more important than ever to update your phone.
Check Point security has found a vulnerability in mobile devices that run Android, which allows credit card details to be accessed by hackers.
Mobile operating systems like Android offer a Rich Execution Environment (REE), providing a hugely extensive and versatile runtime environment, which allows apps to run on the device. However, while bringing flexibility and capability, REE leaves devices vulnerable to a wide range of security threats. A Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is designed to reside alongside the REE and provide a safe area on the device to protect assets and to execute trusted code. Qualcomm makes use of a secure virtual processor, which is often referred to as the “secure world”, in comparison to the “non-secure world”, where REE resides.
But Check Point “fuzzed” a “hole” into this secure world
In a 4-month research project, Check Point researchers attempted and succeeded to reverse Qualcomm’s “Secure World” operating system. Check Point researchers leveraged a “fuzzing” technique to expose the hole. Fuzz testing (fuzzing) is a quality assurance technique used to discover coding errors and security loopholes in software, operating systems or networks. It involves inputting massive amounts of random data, called fuzz, to the test subject in an attempt to make it crash.
Check Point implemented a custom-made fuzzing tool, which tested trusted code on Samsung, LG, and Motorola devices. Through fuzzing, Check Point found 4 vulnerabilities in trusted code implemented by Samsung (including S10), 1 in Motorola, 1 in LG, but all code sourced by Qualcomm itself. To address the vulnerability, the runtime of Android needs to be protected from both attackers and users. This is typically achieved by moving the secure storage software to a hardware-supported TEE.
Check Point Research disclosed its findings directly to the companies and gave them time to patch vulnerabilities. Samsung patched three vulnerabilities and LG patched one. Motorola and Qualcomm responded, but have yet to provide a patch, and there is no confirmation of a release date yet.
Check Point Research has urged mobile phone users to stay vigilant and check their credit and debit card providers for any unusual activity. In the meantime, they are working with the vendors mentioned to issue patches.