U.K. Set to Lead the World in Mobile Payments

Interest among young people is significantly higher than in other countries, a Deloitte report says.

mobile payments

By Michael Moore

British consumers are leading the way when it comes to a positive attitude on using mobile payments, a new study has found.

A survey by Deloitte discovered that 34 percent of 18-34 year olds in the United Kingdom were positive towards using mobile payments, meaning the technology should take off far quicker here than other countries.

The news comes the day before Apple Pay is expected to launch in the United Kingdom and act as the catalyst for a major upswing in the take-up of mobile payment technology.

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The study also found that older Brits are enthusiastic about mobile payments, with one fifth of 55- to 75-year-olds (20 percent) saying they supported using the technology.

"We are reaching an inflection point for NFC-enabled mobile payments in the UK," said Ed Marsden, U.K. lead telecommunications partner at Deloitte.

"We expect that usage of contactless mobile payments could surge, and, within twelve months, paying for a flat white with a phone will become as familiar as contactless card payments."

Unsurprisingly, security was found to the biggest barrier to the adoption of mobile payments, with 42 percent of respondents citing this as a major concern.

However, consumer awareness was also named as a major hurdle with a third of smartphone users citing a lack of understanding around the potential benefits of using mobile payments.

British retailers are now more accustomed to receiving contactless payments, with approximately 250,000 sales terminals currently incorporating contactless readers. The accessibility of sales terminals that have contactless readers, combined with smartphone users' general awareness over contactless technology, will further drive the acceptance of mobile payments in the United Kingdom.

"There is little additional effort required by U.K. consumers to be able to use mobile payments; it is simply a case of activation," Marsden added.