When we think "mobile payments," a slew of tech brands fly to mind: Google's new Wallet app, the upcoming iPhone's rumored payment-enabling chips and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey's highly-touted and well-funded Square, to name a few.
But ask consumers who they trust to handle mobile payments, and the answer is pretty clear: the same brands they currently trust with payments today -- namely credit-card companies such as Visa, American Express and Mastercard, according to a study by Ogilvy & Mather.
That means incumbents have a big advantage as the fight for the mobile wallet heats up, even as giants with great consumer brands such as Apple, Google and eBay get into the market.
Allowed to pick any number of brands on a set list, survey respondents selected Facebook as the least-trusted brand, with only 12% expressing trust. The group was also more likely to trust the United States Postal Service with mobile payments than Apple, Microsoft or Google.
When asked "Who do you trust with mobile payments?" nearly 40% of consumers chose Visa. MasterCard and American Express weren't far behind, with nearly 36 % apiece. While eBay scored low, its payments brand, PayPal, wasn't far behind the credit-card companies, with 34% of respondents expressing trust.
Among iPhone owners, Apple scored much higher, but still doesn't exceed the credit-card companies, said survey creator Martin Lange, executive marketing director and worldwide head of mobile at Ogilvy & Mather.
While credit-card companies are also active in building new ways to pay with phones, to date, their tech partners are getting more play when it comes to branding. Case in point: Google Wallet. While Google has taken the lead on that tap-to-pay plus loyalty card app, MasterCard and Citibank are both partners.
Visa, too, has invested in payments startup Square and bought Fundamo, a South African person-to-person mobile payments company, for $110 million this summer. The company also joined Isis, a mobile-payments joint venture between Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. AmEx has also launched a mobile-payments product, Serve, and has partnered with Foursquare and Facebook.
So what's a tech brand looking to market mobile payments to do? Push their financial partners out front and center. "If you can partner with Visa, MasterCard, AmEx or a large bank, use that brand to elevate your service," Mr. Lange said.