7 reasons why mobile payments adoption has not taken off in UK

In the recent past, 3 companies (YouGov, Zapp & MPayMe) have carried out independent surveys to understand the factors which are having impact on adoption of mobile payments. Most of these surveys were carried out between the July – September period in 2013. Here are some of the results from the surveys:

  • Less than 1 in 5 UK consumers make mobile payments as there were concerns over security & signing up process was long.
  • 1 in 5 respondents also mentioned that there were not enough people and places to make payments over mobile.
  • 18% of the respondents believe that there was difficulty making mobile payments for people those who were on a different mobile payment system.
  • Most of the UK consumers say it’s not enough to make a switch by just having a mobile payment app on their smartphone
  • 80% of the respondents say no to mobile payments. Fear to share personal bank details is one of the drivers behind this decision.
  • 1 in 5 respondents also point out that they don’t trust the battery on their smartphone to last.
  • <10% of UK population used a mobile wallet to carry out a PoS payment.

The survey also highlighted a few features which were requested by the respondents. According to YouGov, Most popular features used for mobile payments app include checking balances, person to person transfer and transfer of funds between accounts. According to MPayMe, Mobile wallets users were interested in having additional features like lifestyle and personal financial management tools.

LTP View: Besides the above facts, some of the other reasons why mobile adoption is not taking off in UK can be due to the series of fraud attacks on consumers of NatWest’s Get Cash app in October, 2012. Another incident which could have led to fear of adoption occurred 2 months later, through an identity theft, wherein a 36 Mn Euro (i.e. U.S. $47 Mn) were stolen from Eurograbber. The money belonged to around 30,000 corporate and retail accounts. Lack of merchants who accept mobile payments, only 7.5% of merchants located at Oxford Street in London accepted mobile payments. And that's Oxford street, think about rest of UK!

Some of the measures which could help in increasing the adoption rate could include drive to increase awareness of mobile payments highlighting ease of use and security. Educate consumers (somebody needs to spend those marketing dollars) and sign up merchants to accept mobile payments (and somebody needs to do heavy-lifting in merchant acquisition).