From Intent to Action: Nudging Users Towards Secure Mobile Payments


Peter Story, Daniel Smullen, Alessandro Acquisti, Lorrie Faith Cranor, and Norman Sadeh, Carnegie Mellon University; Florian Schaub, University of Michigan


Despite experts agreeing on many security best practices, there remains a gap between their advice and users' behavior. One example is the low adoption of secure mobile payments in the United States, despite widespread prevalence of credit and debit card fraud. Prior work has proposed nudging interventions to help users adopt security experts' recommendations. We designed and tested nudging interventions based on protection motivation theory (PMT) and implementation intentions (II) to encourage participants to use secure mobile payments. We designed the interventions using an interview study with 20 participants, and then tested them in a longitudinal, between-subjects field experiment with 411 participants. In one condition, drawing on PMT, we informed participants about the threat of card fraud and the protection offered by mobile payments. In a second condition, we combined the PMT intervention with an II-based intervention, and asked participants to formulate a plan to make a mobile payment in the week ahead. A third condition acted as a control. Both PMT-only and PMT+II interventions made participants more likely to make mobile payments relative to the control group. The results suggest that PMT and implementation intention-based nudges can help people translate their desire to behave securely into actual behavior.

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@inproceedings {255664,
author = {Peter Story and Daniel Smullen and Alessandro Acquisti and Lorrie Faith Cranor and Norman Sadeh and Florian Schaub},
title = {From Intent to Action: Nudging Users Towards Secure Mobile Payments},
booktitle = {Sixteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2020)},
year = {2020},
isbn = {978-1-939133-16-8},
pages = {379--415},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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