UK hits contactless and mobile payments milestones

UK hits contactless and mobile payments milestones

PayPal and Barclaycard have released statistics demonstrating the rise of mobile and contactless payment methods in the UK.

EBay unit PayPal claims a million Brits have now used its technology to make a payment or send money using their mobile phones.

The firm has been in m-payments since 2005 and was one of the first companies to launch an iPhone app in 2008 when Apple opened its platform to developers. It expects to close 2010 with 30 times the mobile payments volume globally of 2008, reaching over $700 million.

In Britain, month on month mobile transactions grew by 20% in July and August this year with PayPal UK customers making an average of almost five m-payments a month.

Petra Jung, head, mobile, PayPal in the UK, says: "We're seeing the start of a revolution in the way we pay. People have talked about 'mobile money' for some time, but our figures show real traction in the amount of money PayPal's UK customers are sending from their mobile phones."

Separately, Barclays is claiming another milestone, with over a million contactless transactions carried out this year in the UK. Since January there has been a 217% rise in monthly payments, with over 150,000 processed in September alone.

Barclays and Barclaycard are set to be joined in the contactless revolution, with Bank of America's card unit MBNA and Virgin Money both recently committing to rolling out the cards to millions of UK customers over the next two years.

Stuart Neal, head, payment acceptance, Barclaycard, says: "The latest statistics on contactless payment show we are reaching a tipping point. The number of terminals has gone from 25,000 at the beginning of 2010, to 42,500 today, and this is before the big grocers like Co-operative begin their roll out in earnest. At a time when every penny counts for retailers, contactless helps boost customer satisfaction and reduce queue abandonment."

Finextra verdict:

These nice, round figures certainly indicate the growing acceptance of both mobile and contactless payments. However, as Finextra friend Gareth Lodge tweets, traditional card payments still dominate. According to the Payments Council, there were a massive 2.1 billion UK card transactions in just the second quarter of this year.

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