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Study: Brits favour cash, aren’t keen on contactless

by on September 5, 2012 in Ireland, Lead story, Midlands, Research, Wales

The U.K. continues to demonstrate a lack of appetite for contactless technology; only 17 percent of citizens there think a “cashless future” would make their lives easier.

This statistic comes from a survey published on Friday by U.K. ATM operator Bank Machine. The project included 1,000 subjects who provided a representative sampling of the U.K. population.

The study found that more than half of Brits (51 percent) have no idea whether any of their bank cards are even enabled for contactless transactions. Those living in Wales, Northern Ireland and England’s East Midlands have the lowest awareness of the contactless functions on their bank cards overall.

Fraud related to contactless is still a major concern for many. Contactless payments made via mobile phone made people feel least protected against fraud; 96 percent of survey respondents said they preferred other payment methods to ensure their peace of mind.

Cash remains king, as nearly half of those surveyed (48 percent), said they felt most protected when using cash. This compares with 37 who were most comfortable using debit or credit cards; 10 percent using contactless cards and only 4 percent using contactless mobile payments.

A full 90 percent of respondents said it is important that cash continues to thrive now and into the future for at least one of the following reasons:

  • It is safer than cards and does not present their security risks.
  • It is more convenient, proving both faster and easier to use.
  • It bears the queen’s likeness and is part of the national identity.

It seems that payments failures during the Visa-only London 2012 Games have also raised concerns among Brits. A majority of people surveyed (55 percent), said that incidents such as the failure of the POS system at Wembley Stadium would make them less likely to support a “cashless future.” Two-thirds (66 percent) voiced their disapproval of the closure of cash machines that accepted non-Visa cards at Olympic venues.

Survey findings showed that three in five people (59.9 percent) worried that payments-related difficulties during London 2012 — such as being unable to pay for food and merchandise using a card or having trouble finding a cash machine — would affect foreign visitors’ perceptions of the overall success of the Olympic Games.

“Over the past few weeks, we have been able to celebrate the sporting prowess of men and women from around the world, despite the hitches caused by the tussle for attention from commercial sponsors,” said Bank Machine Managing Director Ron Delnevo. “Visitors to the games have shown they have little time for the fruitless attempts made to create a payments monopoly for one brand of plastic card, and if anything, this has only driven people away from the latest fads in technology, whilst highlighting the trust we rightly all place in cash for our daily purchases.”

For more on this topic, visit the trends/statistics research centre.

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