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US consumers warm to contactless cards

20 July 2006  |  6285 views  |  0 globe swirly

More than 100 million Americans would be happy to use contactless cards to pay for small value purchases, such as fast food, convenience store items and transport fares, according to a survey released by micropayments firm Peppercoin.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos Insight and Peppercoin, found a broad willingness to use contactless cards, with more than 50% of respondents - which translates into the 100 million headline-grabbing figure - happy to use contactless cards to buy petrol, items from fast food restaurants or corporate cafeterias and groceries.

More than 40% would use contactless cards to pay for convenience store items and transit fares. The survey also found a large number of consumers prepared to use contactless cards to pay for parking, video games and vending items.

Matt Kleinschmit, vice president, Ipsos Insight, says: "This research shows that consumers are open to embracing the convenience of contactless cards and many of them are willing to use them to buy everyday items."

Mark Friedman, president and CEO of Peppercoin, adds: "Contactless payments represent a significant opportunity for the payments ecosystem. Consumers benefit from the increased convenience while merchants gain speed at the point of sale."

But research found that concerns about security and ease of use are the two main obstacles facing contactless card acceptance. Depending on the specific market, between 13 and 22% of respondents indicated security concerns would keep them from using contactless cards.

Peppercoin says the survey results indicate a need for companies leading contactless roll-outs to educate consumers about the cards' safety and ease of use.

MasterCard has said that it's PayPass contactless payment scheme, which is currently being used by about 10 million US consumers, has seen a 36% increase in usage per account and a 45% increase in total transactions per account.

The newly-independent card association says the system is providing a consumer-friendly alternative to notes and coins for small value transactions, adding that half of all PayPass transactions made are for purchases totalling less than $10.

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