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News in-depth: Banks urged to do more to educate Britons about contactless payments
17 Jan 2012

Banks and retailers in the UK have been urged to encourage the use of contactless bank cards after new research revealed a lack of awareness of the technology.

YouGov conducted a survey of over 2,500 UK consumers which found that just 12 per cent of Britons knew that they owned a contactless card.

However, recent figures from the UK Cards Association showed that there were in fact 19.6 million active contactless bank cards in the UK in November, highlighting the great strides firms still have to make in order to increase knowledge of the cards.

Barclays and its Barclaycard brand were the most well-known providers of contactless cards, with two-thirds of respondents aware about the company's products in this area.

The bank also boasted the highest market share of contactless card holders, with 71 per cent of users owning a Barclays-branded card.

Despite fast food giant McDonald's promoting its roll out of contactless smart card readers in its outlets, just eight per cent of respondents were aware that the firm accepted the cards.

Russell Feldman, associate director in YouGov's technology and telecom's team, claimed that most firms do not currently offer contactless payments despite some big name retailers embracing the technology.

"The vast majority of retailers do not offer the technology and could potentially be missing out on reducing queue times and gaining more foot fall - something retailers desperately need in the current climate," he said.

Although lack of awareness was cited as a major obstacle to the growth of contactless payment, eight in ten respondents of those who were aware they owned a contactless card have never used them for a transaction. Of the group that do, only five per cent of respondents revealed that they use them more than once a week.

Mr Feldman added: "It is up to the banks and other financial institutions to help educate the consumer in the technology, its benefits, and allaying any security fears.

"Retailers also need to make the public aware that they accept the technology and that paying with contactless cards can speed up the payment process."

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