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January 26, 2016updated 21 Oct 2016 5:31pm

Is mobile payment use soaring in the UK?

News: The UK is moving up the ranking for mobile payments use but are we really seeing mass adoption?

By Sam

The 2015 global index for mobile payment use saw UK move up three places to fourth behind Finland, Singapore and the US.

The index, compiled by Citigroup and Imperial College London noted a widening gap between leading and follower territories.
Digital money take up has long been touted as about to take off and there are an increasing number of apps available from tech firms and traditional payment handlers.

While business users are showing more confidence in digital payment technologies it is consumers which will drive wide spread adoption.

"What we found this year is actually pretty stark," said Citi’s global digital strategy head Sandeep Dave. "The incipient countries that have a long way to go, they almost showed a zero improvement against 2014 scores [while] the materially ready countries showed the most improvement."

Last year saw developments at the app level from device makers Apple, Samsung, LG, amd the network operators such as Vodafone.

Apple pay arrived in the UK in July 2015 and was widely welcomed.

Also in July Deloitte published research findings measuring the interest in mobile payments among UK consumers

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It was highest amongst 18-34 year old (34%), while 20% of 55-75 year olds are interested in it.

These levels of interest have resulted in the adoption of 250,000 sales terminals which incorporate contactless readers. It is expected that as awareness and the accessibility of contactless reading terminal grows, so will the acceptance of mobile payments in the UK.

Ed Marsden, UK lead telecommunications partner, Deloitte, said: "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."

Despite the positive adoption of this technology, security remains a barrier to adoption, with 42% of mobile phone users citing this as a reason for not using the technology.

According to Citi it is up to Governments to adopt cashless technologies in order to save billions of dollars spent on distributing cheques and cash.

A report in the FT said the report pointed to a deepening divide between those countries which were digital ready and those which are not.

Citrix predicted that the roll out of networking technology Network Functions Virtualisation will have a major part to play as NFV moves beyond proof of concept and the technology is widely adopted.

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