Procurement · 1 September 2016

Contactless payment overtakes the use of cheques in Britain

contactless_payment

Contactless methods of payment have leapfrogged the use of cheques in Britain, according to new analysis.

New figures released from market research agency Mintel showed that in a three-month analysis, contactless debit cards had been used by 39 per cent of Britons – overtaking the figure for cheques (31 per cent). The study also found that contactless credit cards had surpassed cheques in use amongst Britons, with 34 per cent having used them in the three-month analysis.

Rich Shepherd, Mintel financial services analyst, attributed the growth in popularity for contactless to the increased visibility for consumers. Shepard said that contactless payment methods have “moved beyond coffee shops and sandwich bars and are now entirely commonplace”.

The UK Cards Association announced last month that payments from contactless cards accounted for 18 per cent of total sales in the first half of 2016, an 11 per cent increase on 2015 figures.

Small businesses in particular have found advantages in contactless payment. Owner of therapy clinic Silver Ray Healing Therapies, Pippa Moye, told Business Advice that mobile payments had been key in preventing cash flow problems: “It’s really helpful whenever people are able to pay digitally. It means your account is credited instantly, saving a lot of time and energy.”

In looking at what steps must be taken to further pull alternative payment methods into the mainstream, Anil Gandharve, associate vice president at digital agency Mindtree, said: “To maintain a consistent, digital user experience, retail banks must go beyond what the end user sees to deliver a consistent experience. Strong analytics, a sound stable infrastructure and API enablement will be critical for the future and development of paperless banking now and in the future.”

Gandharve added that the increasing prevalence and availability of contactless payment is “testament to how industries have adapted – and must continue to adapt – to customer demand”.

Howard Berg, SVP at Gemalto UK & Ireland, offered his insight into why there is still some way to go before customers see contactless payment as a truly secure alternative to cash.

“While it’s not a surprise to see that contactless payments are overtaking cheques, the fact that almost all Brits are still using cash highlights that we are still a long way from a cashless society. Only once we reach a point that NFC and contactless payments can be made anywhere as an alternative to cash – and consumers see them as a secure alternative – will we see a significant decline in cash.”

Business Advice tackled the issues of customer trust and security in alternative payment methods in a series of features in partnership with mobile payment service Paym. Check out the series below.

Securing mobile payments: Protecting your business

Credibility and convenience – what mobile payments offer an exciting new brand

What consumers want from mobile payments, and how you can give it to them

Managing cash flow the mobile way – a sole trader’s view

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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