Contactless payments suffer from lack of marketing

A lack of marketing support from retailers is stifling uptake of  contactless payments  this Christmas, despite high consumer awareness, according to research.

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A study from ICM Research reveals that out of 26 high street stores visited in a recent mystery shop, only eleven offered contactless payment facilities and of those that did only three visibly promoted use of the technology.

This is despite the multiple advantages mooted by contactless payment providers who maintain that “wave and pay” features in-store is a key advantage to retailers, particularly during the peak shopping season, when it can help reduce transaction and queueing time.

The study, published today (10 December), also consisted of an online consumer survey revealing that 80 per cent of people are aware of contact payments with 18 per cent reporting that they knew they had a contactless payment card.

Not all those with contactless cards realised they had one with sevenof those with contactless payment cards only realising it when asked to check the symbols on their plastic cards, according to the research.

Richard Moller, a researcher in ICM’s retail team, says: “Retailer investment in contactless payment is essential to drive take up because consumer awareness and appetite already exist. Of the eleven stores we visited with contactless payment technology, only three were actively promoting it, and only two – Marks & Spencer and EAT – had signage at checkouts.”

Moller further adds that only half of the sales assistants he spoke to as part of the study knew that their store took contactless payments with over a quarter giving out the wrong information on payment limits.

A separate study by eDigitalResearch, published on Friday (7 December) suggested that awareness of contactless mobile payments doubled since May 2012 with 33 per cent of all consumers now claiming to have seen a contactless payments point in store.

This figure has doubled since eDigitalResearch’s first Mobile Payment Index taken in May 2012. It also found that awareness of NFC enabled devices has also doubled over the past six months, with around 8 per cent of the UK population now aware that they own a contactless mobile payment ready smartphone.

Derek Eccleston, eDigitalResearch, head of research, says: “Our results show that, whilst awareness of contactless mobile payments is on the increase, one third, 30 per cent, of the consumers that we surveyed don’t think that there are any benefits to the technology whatsoever.

“For example, whilst you can use the technology to swiftly pay for goods in coffee shops, customers still need to wait exactly the same amount of time for the coffee and the end result.”

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ICM Research issued a damning report into contactless technology this week, which suggested a lack of marketing support from retailers is stifling uptake of the wave and pay method. This comes in spite of consumers’ high level of awareness in contactless payments. Shoppers haven’t been told why they should use it, so they simply don’t bother.

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