Brits leading the push for cashless society according to Visa’s Contactless Barometer
Posted by Seth PlanckSeptember 01st, 2011 at 2:59 PM Filed Under Latest News
Bring on the NFC – a new survey conducted by Visa Europe has found that UK residents’ attitudes towards contactless payments are changing and moving towards a cashless society, according to Visa’s quarterly Contactless Barometer.
Being a Brit sometimes has its advantages. You have Heinz Salad Cream, Quality Street over the holidays, you know that substance is called Marmite instead of Vegemite (whatever that is), and to seal the deal, you have the BBC and a legendary self effacing humor that others can only marvel at. You can also add to the list of things that make you more civilized than the average person that you now live in a nation that has some of the most progressive views on moving to a cashless society on the face of the globe according to Visa Europe. Visa has been conducting some small scale surveys every quarter that it likes to call its “Contactless Barometer”.
The research was conducted by asking UK consumers a battery of questions surrounding perceived benefits of using contactless or NFC payment technology. Since the last Visa report, there is a change of attitude and acceptance towards adopting and demanding NFC and contactless payments from more stores up and down the length and breadth of the British Isles.
Visa Contactless Barometer shows acceptance of contactless and NFC payments is growing
It’s one thing to use a service yourself and a completely different prospect to recommend a service to your friends and family, however 85% of UK consumers who were polled said that they would recommend contactless and NFC payments to their nearest and dearest. Nine in ten Brits think that contactless payments make life simpler, and over a quarter (28%) feel that there are not enough retailers supporting contactless and NFC payments. More than half, or 57% of respondents reported that they had never been asked to pay with NFC or their contactless EMV card at the checkout. More than one third. or 37% said that this is the main barrier that stops them using the new payments technologies.
When it comes to likely venues that those polled felt they would like to use contactless and NFC payments, more Brits answered that fast food restaurants, petrol stations and supermarkets accepting NFC or contactless payments would beat out the use of their trusty chip and pin cards. Brits may have been famed for queuing in the past but modern Britain is showing that it doesn’t like to wait around. Over 1 in 2 (58%) survey participants said that contactless was great when they were in a hurry, 30% preferred the payments technology when there were people behind them in line and 26% preferred NFC or contactless payments in busy places.
“We’ve developed the Barometer to help us benchmark changes in consumer attitudes and take-up of contactless payments. It’s good to see that users of contactless are satisfied with the technology but it’s also clear that many consumers would like to see it become more widely available across the country,” said Mark Austin, Head of Contactless at Visa Europe.
Contactless Barometer in the high street
High Street brands and shops are adopting contactless and NFC payments systems according to the report which highlighted the McDonald’s announcement from way back in May, which announced that the company was rolling out NFC POS terminals in all of its 1200 restaurants. Other famous retailers like Subway, Pret A Manger, Caffe Nero, EAT and selected Boots, Burger King, Little Chef and Clinton Cards stores now accept NFC or contactless payments.
This is obviously still a small fraction of the shops most Brits will use for the bulk of their retail shopping, however, the good old trusty Co-op (food & pharmacy outlets), Wilkinson and Starbucks have already confirmed they will be deploying contactless or NFC payments soon. Visa also expects that there will be more announcements before the end of this year.
UK consumer perceived benefits of using NFC or contactless payments according to the Contactless Barometer.
The Contactless Barometer found that the main benefits to consumers of contactless are:
The speed in paying via contactless as opposed to cash (31%)
53% like not having to hand their card over to a cashier
55% appreciate not having to carry cash in their wallet / purse
51% like not having to carry loose change
48% like not having to plan to take cash out from an ATM
Contactless Barometer on security
The contactless fear monster and misconceptions are still present in the minds of those UK consumers who were polled. Forty-four percent of users expressed concern about security if their card gets stolen, suggesting that issuing banks may need to do more to educate their customers about the security measures in place to protect them.
Austin agrees. “Contactless cards are subject to the same level of consumer protection as all Visa cards, which means that if you are a victim of fraud you can get your money back. The cards also have in-built security functionality which mean they can only be used a certain number of times before a pin is required.”
Austin concludes, “We are now taking the first steps on the road to becoming a ‘less-cash’ society. The Barometer offers a snapshot of changing attitudes towards payment technology and consumer experiences of using it on the high street. The two key takeaways for me are the need for retailers to keep pace with consumer demand and also for our industry to take steps to ensure consumers are reassured about the security measures present in all contactless cards.”
It will be interesting to see how attitudes have changed again in November when the next iteration of this study is published. Visa is talking up a “less-cash” society which is simply a weak, politically correct way of broaching a cashless society. The big gain for the credit card companies is that they can replace to cash and turn those payments that become transactions over their networks. Many of the questions posed are likened to “Do you want us to remove your right big toes?” and appear to be asked in such a way to elicit certain answers, but even in that there are changes between now and the last time this survey was conducted. How prepared the British public is for a cashless society will be truly determined over the holidays when we can see the figures of contactless versus traditional payment methods.