Contactless convenience begins to win over UK consumers

A survey of British consumers’ attitudes to contactless payment has found that 90% of users say it makes life simpler and 85% would recommend the technology to friends and family.

Barclays Visa contactless card
SURVEY: Contactless payment is popular with people in a hurry

A new survey of UK consumers for a new quarterly ‘Contactless Barometer’ from Visa Europe has found that 85% of users of contactless cards would now recommend contactless to their friends and family and 90% think it makes life simpler.

More than one in three (37%) said that lack of contactless terminals in stores is the main barrier preventing them using the technology — 28% said that there aren’t enough retail outlets offering contactless payments and over half (57%) say they have never been asked to pay with contactless in a shop.

The research also found that consumers are most likely to want to use their contactless cards in fast moving retail outlets, where faster transactions are an advantage. Fast food restaurants, petrol stations and supermarkets were the most popular venues, which aligns with the survey’s findings that contactless payments are most popular with people in a rush (58%), people with a queue behind them (30%) and those in busy places with lots of people (26%).

Other benefits identified by the 2,000 consumers surveyed include:

  • 31% like the speed in paying via contactless as opposed to cash
  • 53% like not having to hand their card over to a cashier
  • 55% appreciate not having to carry cash in their wallet or purse and 51% like not having to carry loose change
  • 48% like not having to plan to take cash out from an ATM

There are currently around 70,000 contactless acceptance points in the UK including food service chains McDonald’s, Subway, Pret A Manger, Caffe Nero, Eat, Burger King and Little Chef. Selected outlets of Boots and Clinton Cards are also equipped with contactless terminals. Co-op, Wilkinson and Starbucks have confirmed they will offer contactless soon.

Security does remain an issue for some users, however, with 44% of those taking part in the survey expressing concern about security if their card gets stolen.

“We’ve developed the barometer to help us benchmark changes in consumer attitudes and take-up of contactless payments,” explains Mark Austin, head of contactless at Visa Europe. “It’s good to see that users of contactless are satisfied with the technology but it’s also clear that many consumers would like to see it become more widely available across the country.

“We are now taking the first steps on the road to becoming a ‘less-cash’ society,” Austin adds. “The barometer offers a snapshot of changing attitudes towards payment technology and consumer experiences of using it on the high street. The two key takeaways for me are the need for retailers to keep pace with consumer demand and also for our industry to take steps to ensure consumers are reassured about the security measures present in all contactless cards.”

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