UK businesses ignoring consumer demand for mobile payment tech

by Michael Moore| 08 July 2014

Mastercard warns: invest or face economic consequences.

Many UK businesses are struggling to expand and develop to their full potential due to a lack of proper investment into new technologies such as alternative payment methods, a senior Mastercard executive has told CBR.

Marcia Clay, the groups' UK and Ireland head of strategy and commercial development, explained that UK consumers are increasingly calling for innovative technologies such as mobile payments as they look to simplify their everyday lives.

"I believe we need to prioritise support for innovative start-ups, businesses in the eCommerce and mobile payments sector for example, which are in a unique position to propel the UK economy forward in 2014 and beyond," she said.

Clay detailed how Mastercard is working with London-based Startupbootcamp FinTech, providing the expertise, mentoring and access to a network of industry professionals that most early-stage FinTech start-ups would not be able to access otherwise.

Mastercard has found that many small businesses still do not use electronic payments, despite almost 80% of UK businesses having a website or some sort of online presence. A much smaller percentage can currently accept card payments, and the company believes that businesses of all sizes should be encouraged to invest in new technology and services that give consumers more choice.

The company also found that UK consumers are using mobile and contactless payment methods and wide-spread adoption is reaching a critical mass; with around 5.7m transactions taking place on UK smartphones every day. This has been spurred on by a major growth in contactless payments, which grew by 383% from 2012 to 2013 across the country as more UK banks began rolling out the technology.

Figures released today by the British Bankers Association show that more than 15,000 people are downloading banking apps every day, with transactions using the internet or mobile banking methods are now worth £6.4bn a week up from £5.8bn last year.

"It is important to always understand what really matters to consumers," Clay says. "Through our research we have identified what really matters is feeling safe and secure from fraud, whether it be physical point of sale or online, experiencing a simple and speedy process, and confidence that wherever they are, whatever they are doing their payment method will be excepted.

"The UK is leading, but the world is catching up with us and if UK businesses don't embrace the fast evolution of commerce, we will be left behind."

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