Mobile use will drive uptake of contactless payments

It was no surprise to read about the low level of contactless card payments in YouGov’s mobile wallet study and the subsequent call for a greater focus on education from banks and retailers (

With any new payment technology there is bound to be a learning process and hesitancy about its use. There were many misgivings about Chip and PIN in its early days but now it is the norm with minimal user concerns.

The uptake of contactless payments will undoubtedly increase in the near future, but it will be driven less by card use and more by mobile phone use. That’s partly because this year we are going to see a significant uplift in the number of NFC-enabled handsets being used.

Those with most to gain, not least banks and retailers, will have to educate and encourage consumers to use their phones for payments but they will be aided by the increased use of mobile NFC in proximity marketing.

Very soon, mainstream advertisers will be embracing NFC technology to offer incentives and exclusive content from NFC tags that have been placed on posters, point-of-sale displays, product packaging or signage on the high street or in-store.

Consumers will quickly become familiar with tapping a poster for a money-off coupon for a fast food outlet or an exclusive film trailer for the new Hollywood blockbuster. Realising the benefits that can be gained from interaction with previously passive media will gain momentum and that in turn will help make the transition to mobile payments less of a leap of faith as it might be now.

Many smartphone users are already comfortable using apps, banking and making online payments via their mobile. Mobile contactless payments is the next logical evolution. Once consumers become familiar with the concept, courtesy of marketing communications from trusted brands, mobile payments will very quickly become the accepted norm.

Neil Garner, CEO, Proxama

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