Corrie and Contactless

Contactless payments have trebled. The UK Cards Association said there was a 255 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure of £653m.

Yet NFC payments still account for just 2.7% of all card transactions. There is no reason for this rate not to continue, having been given a massive leg-up in the form of Transport for London’s appropriation of NFC across its network.

A further leg-up, and one which will target the crucial market, local independent retailers, will come in the form of British soap appearances later in the year thanks to a deal struck between ITV and Visa.

Do not underestimate the power of British soaps. It is well documented that the electricity surge down to soap watchers boiling the kettle at the end or during the ad breaks of soaps is so large that backup power stations have to go on standby across the country, and additional power is made available in France in case the UK grid can’t cope. 

Small retailers need to adopt this, it will encourage spend as people realise how fast and convenient it is. And the speed of transactions will increase footfall as people may be more inclined to nip in, en route to catching a train, for example. And contactless could save them money on Chip and PIN fees. Some newsagents are complaining of ailing footfall in London since the contactless Transport for London roll-out. This could be the thing to bring a few more in.

And while the majority of small shop owners may not watch the nation’s soaps, it is a safe bet that a lot their customers will, and may start asking.

Apple Pay has paved the way for contactless and rumour is rife that it will indeed revoke its current lockdown on other payment apps on the iPhone. By the time other handsets are developed with either biometric security or high value NFC capability (one of which will need to be provided for contactless to well and truly take off by way of being able to make higher value payments), Apple will have reaped enough reward from its contactless endeavours as well as the sheer power of the marketing around Apple Pay and the iPhone 6 range.