Survey: Brits reluctant to adopt contactless credit cards


Many Britons are attracted to the idea of contactless payments, but the majority want to find out more about the technology and its security features before making the leap, say researchers from Ingenico. According to the company, which designs and produces contactless payment devices, three-quarters of consumers want more information about contactless technology. Experts say the finding sends a clear message that the industry needs to increase its efforts to promote the innovative payment method.


Brits still reluctant to use contactless
Contactless payment technology is becoming more common in the UK, with a growing number of stores -- including Pret A Manger, Subway and McDonalds -- embracing the innovation. Visa recently predicted that more than 20m Visa-branded contactless cards will be in circulation by the end of the year, and MBNA has just launched the UK's first American Express-branded contactless credit card. However, the Ingenico report shows that adoption of the payment method is being hampered by security fears and a lack of understanding on the part of consumers.

Uncertainty remains
The research revealed that just 13% of respondents had ever owned a contactless debit or credit card, and that even fewer (5%) had made this type of payment using their card. The majority of survey participants (73%) admitted that they needed more education on the technology before using contactless or mobile payments, with 42% revealing that they did not know where they could use a contactless card.

Security is a key concern
Three-fifths of respondents (61%) also said that they wanted reassurance about security issues before using a contactless card or their mobile phone to make payments. Security-related concerns in relation to contactless debit and credit cards included the potential risk of fraud (47%) and the threat of identity theft (also 47%). Even more respondents said they were worried about the fraud (56%) and identity theft (52%) risks associated with mobile phone payment technology.

Craig Doyle, Ingenico's managing director for UK and northern Europe, says that consumers want improved convenience and speed while shopping, but are "still not sufficiently confident" to switch from traditional cash and cards to contactless technology. "There can be no doubt that we remain on the cusp of a major payment revolution," observes Mr Doyle. "However, providing shoppers with clearer information about contactless technology will be critical to improving their knowledge and ultimately increasing consumer adoption."

Mr Doyle adds that the responsibility for increasing the adoption of contactless payments lies with industry members, who need to work together to "raise levels of awareness and understanding about the benefits of this technology."

See related: McDonald's adopts contactless card technology; Transport for London introduces contactless card payments

Published: 19 May 2011