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UK contactless payments momentum gathers pace

21 December 2011  |  11781 views  |  0 Barclaycard Oyster 2

Nearly three quarters of British contactless users think that the technology will eventually become more commonplace than cash and 84% see cards as just a stepping stone to mobile NFC payments, according to a survey from Visa Europe.

In its second 'contactless barometer', the card giant quizzed 500 contactless users in the UK, 500 in Poland and 500 in Turkey. In the UK 73% agree or strongly agree that contactless technology will ultimately become more commonplace than cash, compared to 79% in both Poland and Turkey.

An even greater percentage of respondents - 87% across all three countries - are also convinced that "contactless will be instrumental in bringing mobile contactless payments to market in the near future".

There are still barriers to take up though - in the UK, the availability of contactless point-of-sale terminals has become a bigger preventative issue for people, cited 34% as a problem compared to 23% the previous quarter.

When acceptance has increased, usage has grown significantly, says Visa, citing the example of McDonald's, where the UK-wide rollout of terminals has seen 32% of UK contactless card owners use them to pay for fast food, compared to just 12% in the previous quarter.

The research also shows that for nearly half of Brits, communication received from their bank either before or after receipt of a contactless card plays a vital role in driving understanding and awareness of the new service. External advertising, through mediums such as TV and posters, is important to 14% of Brits and communication at the point of sale is an issue for 13%.

Mark Austin, head, contactless, Visa Europe, says: "With the number of contactless cards in circulation in the UK forecast to top thirty million by the end of next year and London 2012 set to showcase how the technology offers added convenience, the next twelve months provide an opportunity for the industry to capitalise on contactless payments and further connect with consumers."

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