Contactless technology in business: the state of play

Last updated: 10 March 2016

Contactless report post one

For many Europeans, contactless payment has already become part of daily life. The use of “wave and pay” cards have more than trebled in the past year as the technology becomes more readily available. The sight of people making purchases using their phones or watches is gradually becoming more common thanks to platforms like Apple Pay, and the impending launch of rival services from Google and Samsung. Consumer momentum is building fast, to the point where analysts have forecast that over 148 million people worldwide will be making contactless payments worldwide this year.

But while consumer optimism and attitudes towards contactless technology are popular topics, we’ve seen far less about what businesses think. So today we hope to address that with the launch of a new report into European businesses’ plans for contactless technology. Contactless Business: The State of Play outlines how banking, retail, telecoms and transport companies across the UK, Germany and Spain feel about contactless technology today and their expectations for the future.

What did we find?

Well, the results show that European businesses are enthusiastic about the adoption of the technology. In fact, only 8% of companies admitted not having launched a contactless project yet and not a single respondent said they weren’t planning to do so in the short term. Contactless is clearly high on the business agenda.

Our respondents also said that they expect 10% of their transactional activity to be made up of contactless payment technologies within the next three years. Across the different platforms, contactless payment cards are the top priority for 52% of businesses, followed closely by mobile payments (50%), wearable device payments (43%) and contactless store/loyalty cards (42%).

Businesses clearly have their customers’ convenience in mind as faster payments was selected as the key driver for contactless investment by 74% of respondents. But being seen to innovate (43%), and differentiating from the competition (33%) were also highlighted as important. Unsurprisingly, convenience was named as the most important driver for 47% of respondents as well as greater simplicity and satisfaction (43%).

As with most applications deployed in today’s digital environment, security is front of mind. More than half of businesses planning to deploy contactless technology will opt to work with partners and the quality most desired is security solutions (59%). Industry expertise and reputation and easy integration were also important (53% and 51%) respectively.

When it comes to regional uptake, the study showed that the UK is so far leading the contactless charge compared to Germany and Spain. We’ve already seen evidence of contactless taking over the UK transport system with more than a million journeys on London’s tube paid for by tapping a visa card.

We’ll be looking in more detail at what we found in each individual country over the next week, but in the meantime, you can read full details of the research in the report, which you can download here.