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Bigger push needed for NFC purchasing, claims report

A new report argues that more needs to be done to incentivise the take-up of near field communications (NFC) payment technology among consumers.

NFC enables a user of a mobile device to access information, or carry out a financial transaction, simply by making a radio wave connection between the mobile device and a specially configured point of sale or information point.

In regard to payments, this usually means simply waving one’s smartphone over the point in order to purchase a small retail item.

According to the report by research organisation YouGov, the broad concept of contactless NFC was found to be familiar to 36 per cent of respondents.

However, in regard to NFC’s capacity for facilitating retail purchases, the report found that only 12 per cent of respondents were aware of this capability in spite of the recent launches of several high profile NFC purchasing products – namely Quick Tap from Orange, Wallet from O2 and Pingit from Barclays.

Moreover, the survey found that only 12 per cent of respondents said they were likely to take up using a NFC payment product by the middle of 2015. Those surveyed said that while the idea of making quick, convenient payments using a mobile phone appealed, they would be concerned about security.

YouGov’s John Gilbert said that the reluctance to adopt NFC payment systems was further compounded by:

‘some confusion as to which “pillar” of the industry will take charge – handset manufacturers? Banks? Mobile operators? Retailers?’

Gilbert said that to grow, the market now had to communicate the ‘what’s in it for me?’ factor more effectively.

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