Will Professor Green help contactless go mainstream?

Barclaycard promoted its contactless payments being accepted on London buses with a secret gig from rapper Professor Green, but will this help the technology go mainstream? I’d say yes, as research shows the usage level in the UK has increased, particularly in urban areas.

Mindi Chahal

Awareness is vital to ensure people know that the technology is available, so publicity stunts such as this will also serve a greater purpose as well as an obvious boost to the brand.

Research shown exclusively to Marketing Week reveals that the proportion of people using contactless cards in London has doubled in three months to 25 per cent. Of the 80 per cent of people that are aware of the cards, 42 per cent have them and only a quarter have used them.

ICM Research first conducted the study in November 2012 and repeated it last month. The results show that 12 per cent of all respondents now use the cards compared to 8 per cent in November.

Of those that use the cards 9 per cent make contactless payments every day, compared to 5 per cent last November, and 28 per cent use them most days, compared to 12 per cent in November.

This research and other studies that show awareness and usage will also prompt retailers to start adopting contactless payment terminals to make the retail experience better for consumers. Barclaycard isn’t the only brand to back the technology. Earlier, this month Co-op food stores went live with contactless terminals at 2,000 of its stores.

Also at Mobile World Congress this year it was announced that Visa and Samsung were to forge a global NFC alliance for contactless payments and MasterCard introduced MasterPass mobile payments with launch partners such as Argos, Boots and American Airlines, as mobile companies look to make technology messages more consumer-centric via partnerships with brands.

People will still be nervous about making payments in this way, but when it becomes mainstream this could fade, especially if brands take the opportunity to communicate the security issues or non-issues involved.

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