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More Android owners paying for items via their phones

Almost 35 percent of Android smartphone owners are now using mobile-payment apps to pay for goods and services, says research firm NPD.

Android owners are increasingly using their phones to make payments on the go.

Nearly 35 percent of Android users monitored by market research firm NPD in March were using mobile-payment apps, a rise of 8 percent since August. Among the people sampled, a larger number are using their phones to move money, buy products and services, comparison shop, and redeem coupons.

"Consumers are doing everything from basic utility (bill pay, moving money, and account management) to using the phone itself to pay for goods and services of limited value (micro-transactions), including buying a cup of coffee or movie tickets," Linda Barrabee, research director for NPD Connected Intelligence, said in a statement today.

The market for mobile payments is still developing, but users are starting to become more comfortable using their smartphones to pay for items, according to NPD. The top payment apps used in March included PayPal, mobile bill-paying apps (My Verizon and My AT&T), payment acceptance apps (Pay Anywhere and Square), Starbucks, and Fandango Movies.

But the digital wallet faces some challenges before it gains adoption by the average consumer.

Concerns over security have to be addressed, while the major industry players need to come together to make the process as easy as using cash or a credit card.

"Ultimately, the success of mobile payment and wallet initiatives rests on changing entrenched consumer behaviors, and shifting the reliance on, and use of, physical wallets and all of its contents to a mobile (digital) version," Barrabee said. "In order to do this, and facilitate on-the-go consumer transactions and commerce, wireless carriers, credit card companies, and e-commerce companies need to make sure the process is convenient, simple, and secure for consumers."

To compile its results, NPD used its Connected Intelligence SmartMeter app to monitor an opt-in panel of Android and BlackBerry device owners. A total of 800 Android users were included in the results.