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Survey reveals industry expectations for contactless are overambitious

A survey conducted by Compass Plus has revealed that the reality of the mass adoption of contactless payments is much further behind industry expectations.

The survey, in which UK residents answered questions about their payment and banking habits, found that less than one in 10 people had actually made a purchase using their contactless card in the previous month. 

These results were compared with a recent survey of industry professionals also conducted by Compass Plus, to highlight the differences between industry expectations and reality. The industry survey indicated that professionals believe the mass adoption of NFC and contactless payments will take place between one and three years, however nearly 40% of the public revealed they did not even know what contactless payments are.

When asked about payment security, those surveyed viewed contactless cards as the least secure method of payment (34%). Paying with a debit card on the internet was named the second least secure (26%), with making payments on a mobile phone (24%) coming third. Cash was named the most secure method of payment (57%), followed by paying on the high-street with a credit card (34%) and a debit card (32%).

In addition to people viewing cash as the most secure method of payment, nearly all of the survey participants (93%) had withdrawn cash from an ATM in the previous month. Although this was closely followed by making purchases with bank cards on the Internet (87%) and on the high-street (86%), with more recent, innovative payment services being used infrequently.

In fact, just 9% of participants had made a purchase on the high-street using a contactless card in the previous month, and only 4% using a mobile phone. These results contradict claims that the industry is heading towards a cashless society – even though bank cards are extremely popular, alternative payment methods do not appear to be as prevalent, and the appeal of cash for consumers is undeniable.

One area that did fall in line with the expectations of the industry was the mass adoption of mobile payments, which saw the majority of both industry professionals (42%) and the UK general public (31%) believing that this will occur between two and three years.

“Actively tracking the difference in opinion between industry experts and the general public has been an interesting experiment.” commented Maria Nottingham, chief marketing officer at Compass Plus. “The survey we conducted clearly illustrates that expectations between the two differ considerably, and if we are to encourage the mass adoption of new payment channels we need to educate the public on what is available and assure them that their payments are secure.”


For full results of the UK residents’ survey please click here.

For the latest full results of the annual CARTES survey please click here

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