Brits confused on contactless - survey

Source: Logic Group

Secure card payments specialist The Logic Group has, via a 1,000 consumer survey, taken a look into the wallets of UK shoppers to find out how sentimental they feel towards sterling, which payment methods they prefer, and how far they understand new payment technology like contactless.

So, how would the British public feel about losing cash for good? When asked what the most important barriers to a cashless society were, the sentimental and emotional values the media suggest we place on Sterling may not be so strong in reality. Surprisingly only 21% identified a sentimental attachment to cash as a key obstacle to Britain becoming a cashless society, whereas nearly half of all respondents identified paying for low value items (45%), and small retailers that rely on cash (44%) as being the greatest barriers. Over a third (38%) cited security concerns and allowing people with no bank account to pay for goods, whilst eight percent of shoppers see no barriers at all to a cashless society.

But while a cashless society could be the future, it seems the nation is confused about what contactless payments actually are. 21% of consumers think a contactless transaction is a payment made online and 18% a payment where no human contact is involved - i.e. using a ticket machine.

Cash is most definitely King for the British shopper, and for items under the value of £10, the majority of shoppers (80%) would regularly choose to pay by cash, followed by 39% opting for debit card and a quarter (25%) choosing credit card. Perhaps surprisingly 6% still choose to checkout using a cheque, and only 3% would opt for contactless.

One fifth of consumers carry less than £5 in cash on a daily basis[1], whilst 23% carry £5-£10, or £11-£20, and nearly one in ten (9%) carry over £51. But it's not just cash filling our pockets, purses and wallets; two thirds (67%) of us carry between one and five cards on a daily basis, be it credit or debit, loyalty, store cards, vouchers or mobile top up. Nearly one in ten shoppers carries over ten cards and a further one in ten feel no need to carry any cards at all, including payment cards.

Mark Kusionowicz, Marketing Director, The Logic Group, said: "In the UK alone,e UK alone, it's estimated that consumers make 22 billion cash payments a year, worth a total of £266 billion. However, over 80% of these transactions are for purchases of less than £15. This represents a huge opportunity for a cash replacement solution that is faster, more convenient and more secure than notes and coins - and the emergence of contactless offers this. However, there is clearly some work to be done in the industry to educate consumers not only to the benefits of contactless but also to what a contactless payment actually is. More positive though is that our survey presents a picture of a British public who are less sentimental than anticipated with regard to their attachment to hard cash."

One of the key benefits of contactless payments is reducing queues at checkouts, which is still the most irritating element of the payment process for shoppers with over half (51%) of respondents expressing frustration caused by queues. Other shoppers taking too long to pay comes in a close second (45%), followed by a third (34%) of consumers that are exasperated by self service checkouts taking longer than traditional checkouts. Card payments create their own annoyances though with a quarter (24%) of respondents bemoaning card payments being rejected through no fault of their own and nearly a fifth (17%) of shoppers struggling to remember their PIN codes.

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 30 March, 2011, 13:40Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Many of the Cardholders I have informal and incidental discussions with haven't a clue what the wave symbol means - many have contactless enabled cards and do not even realize it.  Merchant  education has also been disappointing – many do not understand what a contactless card is and how it operates with their terminals.

There appear to be some underlying problems with Contactless Prepaid Cards and compared to Credit Cards