Sobering UK m-payments stats

It is hard to keep count of the number of digital wallet launches and new mobile payments roll-outs. The hype surrounding such launches has been enthusiastic, to say the least. Add into the mix the much anticipated release last week of the latest iPhone models, together with new mobile launches on the Android platform from Sony and Samsung, writes Douglas Blakey

It is hard to keep count of the number of digital wallet launches and new mobile payments roll-outs. The hype surrounding such launches has been enthusiastic, to say the least. Add into the mix the much anticipated release last week of the latest iPhone models, together with new mobile launches on the Android platform from Sony and Samsung, writes Douglas Blakey

Rather overshadowed by news of its mounting losses and probable sale, BlackBerry also released a new model the Z30, although quite how many potential purchasers noted the launch is another matter entirely. With UK smartphone penetration rates now soaring way over 50%, there is a fantastic opportunity for mobile payments to take off. There is however a but. For a start, retailers need to get their act together.

There are some notable exceptions but the vast majority of UK retailers still do not accept mobile payments. Research undertaken by the pollsters Usurv found that only 10% of UK smartphone users have ever made an in-store mobile payment. Worse than that: of the 168 retailers on London’s Oxford Street, only 13 were identified by the UK Cards Association as accepting contactless cards.
If that is the stat on the UK’s best known shopping street, goodness knows what the comparable stats are for High streets in the provinces.

For those retailers that do accept m-payments, is there really a compelling reason to expect customer behaviour to change? The reasoning of the punter in the Dog & Duck pub when considering m-payments may well not extend much beyond the basic: ‘What’s in it for me ‘Guv’?

For adoption rates to rise significantly, there is an argument that there has never been a better time for a carefully crafted loyalty programme to drive consumer use of mobile payments. What do you think? What needs to be done to increase mobile payments adoption rates?