UK Survey Shows Growing Awareness of Contactless

Aug 3 2011

A growing number of UK consumers, 44%, recognize the contactless logo at the point of sale, according to a recent survey by Barclays bank and its acquiring and credit card arm, Barclaycard.

That’s up from 28% at the same time a year ago, said the bank, which is the strongest backer of contactless payment among financial institutions in the United Kingdom.

The bank also said 62% of respondents were aware of contactless cards, compared with 45% last year.

Barclays and Barclaycard announced the survey results today. Update: A spokesman told NFC Times that research firm Populus conducted the survey online during the first half of June 2011. It randomly polled 2,000 adult consumers. End update.

The survey covered attitudes toward cashless payments, not just with contactless technology but also conventional payment cards.

Among the other findings were that two-thirds of consumers said they found carrying cash a nuisance, one in eight don’t carry cash and about half believe cash will someday become obsolete. In addition, on average, British consumers carry around only £23 (US$37.68) in cash.

“Although we are far from becoming a ‘cashless society,’ it’s clear from our research that cash is no longer king,” said Dan Wass, head of current accounts and contactless at Barclays, in a statement. “It is clear that shoppers are now looking for alternative methods of payment–such as contactless–which will allow them to avoid spending time fumbling for change in a queue and will take up less space in their wallet.”

Barclays and Barclaycard have much riding on the success of contactless. They have invested a lot, together having rolled out 13 million debit and credit cards and more than 50,000 contactless point-of-sale terminals since 2007, the most of any UK bank by far. Barclaycard also is participating in the first commercial launch of NFC mobile payment in the United Kingdom with mobile operator Orange UK. Their “Quick Tap” service launched in May.

Representatives of Barclays and other British banks have acknowledged that many consumers lack awareness of contactless payment, including often not knowing they are carrying a contactless payment card in their wallets.

And merchants have had trouble seeing the business case for contactless. Barclaycard has paid for most of the terminals deployed in the United Kingdom to date, adding a contactless interface at no extra charge, usually when it replaces the merchant terminals.

The survey found that “shoppers are still being held back" from using contactless because of worries over security and how the technology works, said the release by the bank. It said it is addressing these problems by communicating with consumers and merchants that contactless payment requires the user to enter a PIN after a certain number of taps and by guaranteeing reimbursement in case of fraud.

 

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