Is the mobile the future of payments?

The evolution of payments globally and in the UK has been underway for sometime.

Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Wallet are just some of the big players that provide a mobile payment and digital wallet service.

The use of conventional debit and credit cards is declining, although they are far from obsolete.

In 2015, British shoppers reached the tipping point of using cards for more transactions than cash on the high street. A key driver for this was the simplicity of using contactless cards and devices.

Mastercard’s extensive study explored the attitudes to technology of 23,000 consumers in 23 different countries across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

>See also: How do mobile payments work – and what are the risks?

The findings revealed that despite the UK being one of the most digitally mature markets in the world, the the British are ready for the next wave of innovation and want to see it in different aspects of life.

Indeed, it is not British consumers standing in the way of mobile, tap-to-pay technology. The banks and retailers need to catch up, because the consumer desire is there.

Mastercard’s survey showed British citizens are ready to embrace technology when it comes to making mobile payments.

Contactless payments are de facto the most convenient, and most popular, form of payment while shopping.

The contactless functionality offered by mobile payment services in retail is the next stage, offering a more convenience experience for the consumer.

You don’t need a mobile and a wallet, you just need a mobile. This can also extend to using mobiles for travel on public transport and, as already in practice, on airline travel.

>See also: Getting ready for a mobile payment world

The report found that 82% of consumers are regularly shopping online or using e-commerce services and significantly, in January this year, Britain’s shoppers reached a second tipping point, as mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets started to account for more than half (51%) of all online sales.

These figures signify the increasingly pivotal role that smartphones are having on consumer spending habits, both in store and digitally.

Dr. Carsten Sørensen, a digital innovation professor at the London School of Economics said: “The British are enjoying a very positive experience with technology, but clearly there is an appetite for even more.”

“The mobile phone is doing what nothing else has managed to do since the launch of the credit card 50 years ago. We cannot leave home without these items and now the card is moving onto the phone.”

>See also: Mobile payments booming but risky, KPMG finds

“Digital innovation is being driven by a diversity of services like Facebook and Uber, and people will increasingly want to use their devices for payments.”

Debit and credit card contactless payments rose to prominence within the last two years. The technology certainly improved efficiency and consumer interaction, but mobile payment services are the inclusive next step.

Elliot Goldenberg, head of digital payments for Mastercard UK & Ireland said: “One of the key drivers to digital and financial inclusion is the role of the mobile. Every member of the population should have access to basic financial products and digital connectivity, and so innovation must ensure that technology creates greater opportunities rather than widening the gap.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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