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More than a quarter of UK shoppers prepared for wearable contactless payments

Mastercard research shows a growing number of shoppers are prepared to make purchases with smartwatches, rings and bracelets

More than a quarter of UK shoppers are ready to make contactless payments using wearable devices, according to research by Mastercard.

The payment giant surveyed 50,747 people across nine European countries to ascertain interest in making contactless payments using smartwatches, rings and bracelets, and 26% of UK respondents said they were ready to do so.

In UK stores, 36% of purchases are now made contactless, whereas in the Netherlands, that figure stands at more than 50%.

Paulo Battiston, executive vice-president of digital payments and labs Europe at Mastercard, said Europeans have proved to be keen adopters of contactless payments.

“Europe leads the world in contactless payments and its overwhelming success has created a demand for even greater convenience,” he said.

This level of demand prompted Mastercard to launch a pilot project with Dutch bank ABN AMRO and Digiseq in January 2018, whereby 500 of the bank’s customers can now approve transactions with wearable devices.

“Shoppers’ trust in contactless is greater than ever, and in turn it seems they are ready to take this one stage further by trying contactless through connected devices,” said Battiston. “Pilots like the one we’re involved with in The Netherlands will empower consumers in the digital economy.”

Yvonne Duits, product owner payments at ABN AMRO, said wearable devices are highlighting the shortcomings of legacy payment types, particularly where convenience is concerned.

Read more on contactless payments

  • Visa research has found that two-thirds of British people have used a contactless card to make a purchase.
  • Fintech company Yolt has found that almost half of British people do not always check how much they are spending with contactless payments. 
  • The amount of contactless purchases made on a smartphones increased by 336% in the first half of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, according to Worldpay.

“With customer expectations clear and the new technology available today, the time has come to drop cumbersome methods of payment and embrace a better consumer experience through wearable payments,” she said.

“We care about making things convenient for consumers and offering everyone a payment method that suits their preferences, and this pilot is testament to that.”

The number of shoppers using wearable devices to make payments is set to increase. According to industry analyst Research Nester, the worldwide smart wearables market is expected to be worth $52.5bn by the end of 2024, compared with $16.2bn in 2016. And trade body Payments UK predicts that contactless payments will outnumber cash payments by the end of 2018 – three years earlier than expected.

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