‘Banks and retailers must do more to educate consumers on NFC’

Banks and retailers need to roll out more educational marketing campaigns to increase the awareness and usage rates of “mobile wallet” NFC technology, a report claims.

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Just one fifth (20%) of contactless card owners have ever used their cards to make a contactless payment, according to YouGov’s Mobile Wallet study. Only 5% of those owners use their card for contactless transactions more than once a week.

Despite big-name retailers such as McDonald’s and Starbucks installing contactless payment terminals in their stores, the majority of owners of contactless technology (27%) cite the lack of retailers offering the service as the main reason why they do not use their cards.

McDonald’s is the most recognised contactless payment provider, but only a minority (8%) of the British population know that consumers can use NFC-enabled cards to wave and pay for products at its restaurants.

Awareness rates of banks offering contactless payment cards is also low, with two thirds (67%) of the population unsure as to which banks offer the service.

Barclays and Barclaycard has the highest share of the contactless market, with 71% of all NFC payment cards. Its closest rivals are MBNA, with 10%, and Lloyds with 5%.

Despite Barclays’ stronghold on the contactless payment market, just 66% of contactless card owners across the board are aware that the bank offers the technology.

YouGov says educating consumers about contactless technology is “key” to increasing awareness and adoption rates.

Russell Feldman, associate director of YouGov’s technology and telecoms team, says: “It is up to the banks and other financial institutions to help educate the consumer in the technology, its benefits, and allaying any security fears. Retailers also need to make the public aware that they accept the technology and that paying with contactless cards can speed up the payment process.”

Contactless card owners are currently most likely to pay for small food and drink transactions, to an average value of about £10. The most popular venues for contactless payment are fast food restaurants (27%), coffee shops (26%) and sandwich and grocery shops (26%).

BlackBerry is readying a range of consumer education campaigns about contactless payment in the coming months and predicts that 2012 will be the “year of NFC”.

A number of contactless-related services and products are also expected launch in the UK this year including the delayed O2 Wallet, Google Wallet, and an NFC service from Vodafone.

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