Experts: Contactless payments won't take off without retailers


A greater number of retailers will need to adopt contactless credit card technology if the payment method is to take off in the UK, according to new research from First Data Corporation.


The company, which specialises in electronic commerce and payment processing, analysed views on emerging payment techniques among consumers from several countries.

Here, takes a look at the research findings and the steps merchants should take to accelerate adoption of contactless payments.

Merchant support a key barrier to uptake
Contactless payment adoption has been particularly slow in the UK, according to the latest white paper from First Data Corporation, entitled 'Payment Methods: What Do International Consumers Want, Need and Expect?'.

Researchers found that just 26% of UK survey participants showed an appetite for contactless payments, compared with 57% in Poland and 70% in the Middle East.

One of the main barriers to more widespread adoption of contactless debit and credit cards appears to be the lack of places to use them. In order to make a contactless payment, the customer must hold their card against a dedicated reader in-store.

Overall, 70% of survey respondents said they would consider making contactless payments if at least 40% of merchants supported the payment method.

Security concerns also remain
The report also revealed that many consumers still have concerns about the security of contactless card payments. More than half of respondents said they shared these concerns, indicating that merchants and card providers must do more to highlight the security features of contactless technology.

Many consumers do not seem to realise that contactless card purchases are processed through the same payment technology as other chip and PIN transactions. In addition, in the event that a customer loses their card, their bank will refund any money that is stolen.

John Elkins, president of First Data International Regions, said that while consumers in the Middle East and Poland are keen to adopt contactless and mobile payments, there is "clearly more work to be done to allay security fears in the UK/Ireland."

He urged merchants to continue to promote the benefits of contactless card payments, noting: "Breeding familiarity will lead to a growth in usage, and ultimately allow both consumers and merchants to benefit from faster check-out and convenience."

See related: Olympics vending machines may go contactless; Starbucks to support contactless card payments; McDonald's adopts contactless card technology

Published: 9 November 2011