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Contactless payments push could see more online sales through mobiles

10 February 2014 - 12:26 by Paul Tissington

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It has taken some time for the idea of turning a mobile phone into a digital wallet to catch on, but the movement in the UK finally seems to be building momentum, with major network providers and payment card companies joining forces on a new initiative to bring it to the mainstream.

A new partnership announced this week will see three of the country's biggest networks getting together with MasterCard, so as to catalyse the adoption of contactless payment technologies by consumers.

Plenty of modern smartphones have NFC chips built in amongst their other components, just like a growing number of standalone payment cards. But actually getting people to use these to make payments, whether on the high street or via safe shopping online, is the challenge.

Experts ultimately believe that people will be able to ditch their traditional payment cards altogether and instead use a mobile phone for all of their financial transactions.

Whether this means touching it against a compatible kiosk when buying groceries at the local store, or placing it close to a corresponding receiver built into a laptop or tablet, when carrying out safe shopping online for a speedy checkout, there is plenty of potential for contactless payments to make an impact.

33.6 million payment cards now have NFC, with this figure representing the uptake in the UK alone, according to Bob's Guide. Now network providers, payment companies and retailers need to make the push to ensure that contactless payment facilities are not sitting dormant on cards and smartphones, but are actively used by consumers.

For those who like to shop on the web, having a quick, new way to get through the checkout process could be a real advantage, especially if it means that creating an account when buying from a new retailer is not a necessity.