Security, interoperability seen as major problems of messaging apps

Some 15% of US and 40% of Chinese users cite lack of security as a major flaw with messaging apps, according to “The challenges facing OTT messaging apps” survey by tyntec.

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Top complaints of users of WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app, and Facebook Messenger, the most popular in the US, remain lack of security and interoperability, or the ability to communicate with individuals who are not on the same app. Especially as in-app purchasing continues to grow – 95% of Chinese respondents and 64% of US respondents have purchased products or services through a messaging app – security will be a cost of entry into any market if apps seek to dominate mobile interaction.

Despite the growth of in-app purchasing, chief challenges messaging app face are strong authentication for in-app purchases and fraud prevention. Especially for China, the hot market for in-app opportunities, which also cited ‘lack of security’ as the major concern with preferred messaging apps. In the US, 36% said they just use passwords to protect their identity and verify in-app purchases and only 11% use one-time passcodes (OTP) sent via SMS texts, also known as SMS-based two-factor authentication. In China, those numbers are 45% and 30%, respectively. In both countries, OTP SMS is the most widely used verification method beyond just passwords.

“App brands must address user concerns and complaints, security and interoperability if they want to enter the next phase of growth,” said Thorsten Trapp, CTO of tyntec. “Especially where regulatory barriers limit their options, finding technological solutions and partners that can bridge the divide and deliver the universal reach and strong security is key. By integrating SMS and phone verification intelligence, messaging apps can make their apps used more broadly while protecting their users.”

The survey collected data from 1,045 respondents in the US and China between October 17 and October 21.

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