Press releases

Britain poised for mobile payments revolution

13 July 2015

  • Over a third of young people are interested in using mobile payments
  • An increase in consumer and retailer awareness will make mobile payments the new norm for everyday commerce

The adoption of smartphone and smart watch payments is expected to take-off faster in the UK than it has done in the USA, according to Deloitte, the business advisory firm.

Britain, with more NFC-enabled smartphone devices in circulation than ever before, has an established mobile payments culture that will lend itself to the rapid adoption of mobile payments.

Research from Deloitte, undertaken in May 2015, reveals interest in using a phone for mobile payments is highest amongst 18-34 year-olds (34%). A fifth (20%) of 55-75 year-olds are interested in mobile payments.

Similarly, British retailers are now more accustomed to receiving contactless payments, with approximately 250,000 sales terminals currently incorporating contactless readers. The accessibility of sales terminals that have contactless readers, combined with smartphone users’ general awareness over contactless technology, will further drive the acceptance of mobile payments in the UK.

Ed Marsden, UK lead telecommunications partner at Deloitte, comments:

“We are reaching an inflection point for NFC-enabled mobile payments in the UK. We expect that usage of contactless mobile payments could surge, and, within twelve months, paying for a flat white with a phone will become as familiar as contactless card payments.

“People currently leave home with their purse or wallet and their smartphone; ideally we would like to carry just one. Smartphones access social networks, take photos, deliver email, navigate routes, provide news and plenty more. For many, a purse or wallet’s only role is to store credit cards. Subsuming these cards into a phone is a logical next step.

“Security has always been the biggest barrier to the adoption of mobile payments: 42% of all mobile phone users cited this as a reason for not doing so. Yet, making contactless payments can be very secure, thanks to the combination of fingerprint readers and tokenisation technology which means that the phone does not need to transfer credit card details when the payment is made. As new services are launched, we would expect that concerns about security will decline. Around 5 million smartphones now have fingerprint scanners, which consumers are using to make payments or unlock their devices.

“Another barrier has been consumer awareness, with a third of smartphone users citing a lack of understanding around the potential benefits of using mobile payments. As new services are launched, clever marketing campaigns, along with word-of-mouth recommendations, would greatly help to raise awareness of the benefits over time.

“Having overcome these key barriers, we will see a stronger adoption of mobile payments in the coming months. There is little additional effort required by UK consumers to be able to use mobile payments; it is simply a case of activation.”

There are five key factors that should boost the adoption of mobile payments in the UK:

  • An existing base of millions of smartphones that have the required functionality of making in-store contactless mobile payments;
  • A familiarity with contactless payments, particularly in cities, where contactless is becoming the default means of payment in some locations;
  • A strong acceptance of using finger print readers to authorise transactions;
  • A significant installed base of retail outlets capable of receiving in-store mobile payments;
  • A healthy curiosity for reinventing traditional ways of doing things, including payments.


Notes to editors

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

George Parrett
Deloitte LLP
+44 077 9596 8483
+44 020 7007 7285

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