Retailers drag feet on contactless cards

11 December 2012

LONDON: Consumer awareness of contactless card payments is growing in the UK, but the nation's retailers appear reluctant to invest in the technology, according to two new reports.

One study, conducted by eDigitalResearch and reported by Marketing Week, found that awareness of the systems had doubled over six months. so that 33% of consumers have noticed contactless payments points in stores.


The systems, which leverage NFC technology, work by allowing customers to pay for goods and services by touching their credit or debit cards on a reader, without the need to enter their PIN.

The eDigitalResearch survey also found that knowledge of NFC is on the up, as 8% of the population recognise they already have such a payment capability via their smartphones.

A separate study for ICM Research found that 80% of people knew about contactless payments, while 18% said they already owned such a card.

But ICM also discovered that less than half of high street retailers had contactless payment facilities installed in stores, and that just 11% of the firms had visibly promoted the technology to their customers.

ICM researcher Richard Moller said: "Retailer investment in contactless payment is essential to drive take up because consumer awareness and appetite already exist." 

Moller added that half the retail assistants he spoke to did not know that their store took contactless payments. Moreover, a quarter of stores were found to be giving out incorrect information on payment limits.

Contactless payment providers claim the benefits of the systems include reducing transaction and queuing times. But the eDigitalResearch report suggested around a third of consumers are yet to be convinced of this benefit.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff