UK mobile payments topped £288m in 2016

Businesses that don't yet accept mobile 'tap and pay' transactions are missing a trick with contactless transactions up 247% in the past year alone...

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  • Megan Dunsby

Contactless spending in the UK is on the up with mobile ‘tap and pay' transactions set to “threaten the future of the traditional payment card”, according to new analysis by Worldpay of consumer spending patterns.

Start-ups and small businesses that aren't yet offering consumers the option to pay with their mobile are likely to be missing out on revenue as the research found that the total number of contactless transactions on mobile devices reached 38 million last year with £288m spent.

What's more, the number of mobile transactions as a percentage of all in-store transactions has grown by 247% in the past year. Worldpay has noted that there was “notable lift-off” following the launch of Android Pay in September.

The analysis suggests that the most popular items purchased via mobile devices in the last year were ‘meal deals' from supermarkets and grocery stores (accounting for 54%), ‘post-work pints' and restaurant orders (20%), and pharmaceutical and beauty products (9%).

Retailers in London in particular are encouraged to accept mobile transactions – the research showed that “Londoners are setting the pace in terms of adoption” with 32% of all mobile transactions in 2016 taking place within the M25.

James Frost, UK CMO of Worldpay, said: “Contactless cards have paved the way for rapid adoption of mobile payment systems, driving investment in infrastructure and familiarity among consumers.

“As people get more used to paying for goods on their smartphone, mobile’s ability to bridge more effectively across online and offline retail channels will increasingly threaten the future of the traditional payment card. Already more than half of UK shoppers say they’d happily leave their wallet at home and pay for everything on their smartphone instead.”

Megan Dunsby

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