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UK consumers not interested in mobile payments at the checkout - YouGov

06 December 2013  |  6368 views  |  13 Dead end

A YouGov poll of UK consumers has shown a strong resistance to mobile payments technology for paying for purchases at the point-of-sale.

The survey of 1051 adults, shows that just over a third (35%) are aware of NFC-enabled mobile devices, a figure that has barely increased since YouGov last looked into the area in September 2012. The latest findings also show that fewer than one in ten (nine percent) mobile and smartphone owners know that their device is NFC-enabled, and of these just over a fifth (22%) ever use it to make payments.

YouGov says there is "strong resistance" to the technology among non-adopters. More than half of mobile phone owner that are not interested in NFC-enabled technology (56%) do not believe that the technology is safe to use and a similar number (53%) are concerned about their financial exposure if their phone were lost or stolen. Moreover, given general contentment with using Chip & PIN at the check-out, almost four in ten (39%) say they do not see a need for the technology.

By contrast, the UK experienced strong growth in both the awareness and usage of contactless payment cards in the year to September 2013. Awareness of the technology grew from 55% to 70% during the period and acknowledged ownership increased from 16% to 25%.

However, general uptake was more limited with only four in ten (40%) owners ever using their contactless card, primarily due to only partial adoption by UK merchants.

John Gilbert, consulting director YouGov Technology & Telecoms says: "Despite the advances in NFC mobile technology, the industry has yet to increase the awareness nor put forth a compelling value proposition to the consumer to adopt NFC payments. In addition, retail adoption is rather limited curbing the consumers' desire to transition."

Comments: (13)

Neil Burton - Earthport - London | 06 December, 2013, 16:25

Dead end street?

This headline is meaningless.

Maybe it says something about NFC, rather than about mobile payments. A third of all the mobile money users in the world are in Kenya. How many of them have NFC?

It certainly doesn't mean UK customers aren't interested in using their mobile devices for financial services - there's amply evidence to the contrary.

Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 06 December, 2013, 17:00 Re-phrasing Steve Jobs, consumers don't know what they want until they are told so...
Ritesh Agarwal - On My Own - Bangalore | 06 December, 2013, 17:03

I have never seen Finextra being so careless in what they write. Author has completely lost it between NFC technology and other modes of mobile payments. The article is void of any sense and logic.

I, rather, see a stiff competition being posed by IMPS payments; wherein direct bank-to-bank money transfer might become the norm of the day and retailer would rather get the money in real time. If it picks steam, then all switches like Visa/master/Amex would run out of business.

We just need a mobile and buyer can transfer money to retailes in real time using IMPS. We just need an app to make it secure. It would replace Debit cards but credit cards might survive only for those people who don't have money in bank.

Andrew Smith - CloudZync - London | 06 December, 2013, 17:11

I think there is a big difference between wanting mobile payments, and understanding what NFC technology is and how it is used in mobile payments.

As I always say, consumers need technology to make their lives easier, NFC enabled payments make very little difference, that's why we don't see contactless or NFC enabled mobile wallets doing well.

Mobile payments can come in many forms now, and there is strong demand from consumers and businesses to start embracing mobile for payments, as long as mobile delivers added value to the business and to the consumer.

I like the quote re Steve Jobs, however, I would say Consumers don't know what they want until they have used it....

Neil Burton - Earthport - London | 06 December, 2013, 17:23

so just to keep new readers on the same page as it were, Finextra have edited the headline and content since this was first posted and the first few comments made. All credit to them for doing so, and we all hope it was a good lunch.

Brett King - Moven - New York | 06 December, 2013, 17:41

This sort of response is absolutely typical in the early stages of adoption. For reference just search around 1995 on comments re the Internet such as this:

All tangled up in the Internet Many users object to complexity and cost as well as subject material

"It was almost impossible to even get on the Internet," fumed Paul Beaudoin, the station's general manager. He did finally manage to establish a connection, but, "It was so slow. I'm waiting for these things to download, and in the end it's a picture of some guy and his cat and it says, `Here's my cat.' "


Internet will have more users when it is simpler - Dec 15, 1995

There are tons of academic research papers seeking to explain why it is that consumer interest in the Internet was so slow and why 'regular folks' just weren't sold on the concept.

As we can see by this precedent, clearly Internet never went anywhere and so as it will be with mobile payments undoubtedly. 

David Griffiths - gryffle - Hertford | 06 December, 2013, 18:39

I think we are going to see a lot more headlines like this over the next couple of years, as the telcos and the banks and the card issuers and the card schemes and the mobile wallet vendors and the pos manufacturers and the "gov" all look for reasons other than themselves as to why paying with a mobile phone using contactless technology at the point of sale isn't happening.  it's time for the industry to man up!

Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 06 December, 2013, 19:12

With a humble plea to avoid shooting the messenger, let me slip in my "sorry to say but I told you so":

Mobile Wallets: Fix What's Broken - And It Ain't Payments

That said, mobile payments come in apps, QR codes, and other flavors apart from NFC, so it's misleading to treat NFC and mobile payments as Siamese twins. 

Naomi Wilson - EZ Commerce Solutions - Satellite Beach | 06 December, 2013, 20:09 There are fast checkout apps out there that are free that allow shoppers to scan items when they place them in the cart. At checkout cashiers scan the items barcodes right off the phone. Shoppers pay traditionally with cash, credit cards or debit. They can get the best of both worlds, Fast checkout & avoid mobile payment. The apps are universal in that they work in any store. Grocery store checkout is reduced to approximately 30 seconds down from 3:45 minutes
A Finextra member | 06 December, 2013, 22:00

I saw a presentation recently where YouGuv gave a pessimistic synopsis on contactless card adoption, based on their market research. The presenter failed to reconcile his findings with the abundant evidence of hypergrowth in market adoption (M&S, EAT, Visa stats) and he remained silent when Transport for London followed with a presentation on the growth of contactless bank cards on London buses, which customers love to use. Similarly, the analysis of this poll data appears to be out of touch with facts evident in the market - for example, Strarbucks and Hailo.

Dean Procter - Transinteract - Sydney | 07 December, 2013, 05:21

I know mobile payments will be big.

Current offerings don't satisfy security & privacy issues of consumers.

Once that is done, there are only so many apps a user will keep on their phone & use, so don't expect them to use a single purpose app which isn't getting them laid.

If your payment app is just for the supermarket then you're history.

Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 07 December, 2013, 08:15 Dean, we use BLE to auto-select the app based on micro-location. It doesn't matter if you have even hundreds of apps, we do all the heavy lifting. It's all about "how" and context, not "what".
Jan-Olof Brunila - Swedbank - Stockholm | 09 December, 2013, 07:28

Customers not wanting mobile phone payment at POS? Or customers not needing mobile phone payment at POS? If there is good acceptance for real cards - what is the value the mobile phone POS card payment will add to make the customer want to learn about the mobile way, get the tools into the phone, look out for a minority of merchants that now offer the mobile way and then change the habit in order to do a regular card payment? If "real" cards are acdepted - by nfc and/or chip+pin - what will convince the consumer to pick up the phone, unlock it, start "app", possibly feed in payment data and make an "app" pin...  And what happens when the consumer gets a new phone every 18 months? Same onboarding procedure again? New user interface features? Payment is low interest, consumption is high interest for the consumer. More complex payment tools that do not give clear additional service or value will be difficult to launch.  Perhaps the best success for phones as payment tools can be reached in the mobile e commerce area where a regular card payment is difficult?

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