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Shops need to push and promote the benefits of contactless payment

Contactless payment has yet to really take off, but many shoppers don’t know of the technology’s benefits and retailers aren’t pushing the payment method in their stores.

Whilst the basic consumer awareness is there, the uptake isn’t. The vast majority of people know about contactless payment, as a study by ICM Research showed, finding that 80% of people know about the NFC (near field communication) technology. However, the same study finds that only 8% of consumers have used the payment method.

Perhaps that’s because the benefits have not been clearly relayed to consumers. Yes, it saves a little time at the till, but once store staff have bagged purchases, is the small amount of time it saves worth dropping the added security of using chip and pin – a process shoppers feel safe and comfortable with.

Research business eDigitalResearch ran a similar study and found the uptake of mobile contactless payment was hindered by similar issues. Citing “security concerns, fraud and scepticism surrounding technical issues”, the poll found that “unless more can be done to reassure potential contactless mobile payment users, it is likely to dampen the growth of contactless mobile payment technology in the UK”.

Mobile payment technology means no more chunky wallets or purses packed with credit and debit cards and cash, which might be one of the first steps of the contents of our wallets moving onto our smartphones. It’s not that far-fetched to imagine our house and car keys and our many forms of I.D. all on our mobile phones. Yet at this time, eDigitalResearch’s study surprisingly found that one third of consumers don’t think that there are any benefits to mobile contactless payment whatsoever.

Derek Eccleston, Head of Research at eDigitalResearch, says: “It is essential that retailers, handset manufacturers, banks and technology provider’s work together to communicate these benefits better to potential users and quash growing concerns amongst consumers.”

Barclays memorable rollercoaster and waterslide ads seemingly promoted the ease of use of and speed of using contactless payment, though retailers aren’t pushing the payment method or its benefits. The ICM Research survey revealed that out of 26 high street stores it visited, only eleven offered contactless payment facilities, and of those that did, only three visibly promoted use of the technology.

However, once shoppers use the technology, they tend to keep using it, as eDigitalResearch’s study survey found that 3 in 4 of consumers who have used contactless payment on their phones use it again.

Seeing others use the payment technology regularly may assuage shopper security concerns surrounding contactless payment. But clearly achieving widespread usage will be a slow process if retailers don’t actively promote in store contactless payment’s benefits, beyond just cutting buying and queuing time for shoppers.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Contactless technology will never work in the fashion retail sector in its current state because of the necessity of the very low maximum spend limits.

    Can you imagine if you were able to buy a £250 Burberry scarf just by swiping a card? It's a terryfying notion (if you were to ever lose your wallet) and if anything would probably discourage consumers from choosing to make their cards contactless.

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