Contactless makes Oxford Dictionaries word of the year shortlist

Contactless makes Oxford Dictionaries word of the year shortlist

After a breakout 12 months for tap and pay, 'contactless' has made Oxford Dictionaries' shortlist for international word of the year.

Contactless was one of seven words - along with bae, budtender, indyref, normcore and slacktivism - to make the list but ultimately lost out on the top spot to vape, which refers to electronic cigarettes. The last time a fintech-specific term made its way onto the Oxford shortlist was back in 2008, when credit crunch walked away with the word of the year award.

Earlier this week Worldpay reported a 150% rise in UK contactless payments volumes over the past six months, suggesting that the technology has now shaken off its novelty tag and is surging towards the mainstream.

Explaining its decision to recognise the word, Oxford Dictionaries says that there has been a corresponding rise in usage, with a peak in September when the technology was adopted across London’s transport network and Apple Pay was unveiled.

With Apple placing the spotlight on payments, MasterCard has offered up its own top five buzzwords: tokenisation, chip card, digital wallet, hackathon, and biometrics.

Buzzwords have their drawbacks, though. HSBC 'social technologies specialist' Aden Davies has taken to his personal blog to rail against banks' obsession - much in evidence at the recent Money 20/20 and BAI Retail Delivery conferences - with the mysterious entity known as the millennial.

"It seems to me that a millennial is a person of unknown origin, upbringing, sex, religion, race, profession who may have been born between 1980 and 2000 but they know loads about technology and we need to build digital services to meet their unquenchable thirst for realtime, anywhere access and control," writes Davies.

Over the last year, the word fintech has itself broken into the mainstream thanks to the rise of mobile money, alternative lending and crypto-currencies, and could be an outside bet for Oxford Dictionaries' 2015 gong.

Feel free to share your favourite, and least favourite, fintech-related buzzwords in the comments section.

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