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Study: UK consumers more likely to use proximity mobile payments than US counterparts

The future of mobile payments appears more bright in the U.K. than the U.S. thanks to consumers' familiarity with contactless payments, according to a report from Auriemma Consulting Group.

"U.K. consumers were introduced to contactless payments in 2007," Jaclyn Holmes, the director of Auriemma's Payment Insights, said in a press release. "Their increased comfort with this technology, in the decade since its inception, makes payment behavior at the point of sale less of a barrier for mobile pay adoption. If anything, paying with a tap has become more natural for this population than their U.S. counterparts, who only recently began the move from swipe to dip."

A small but notable proportion of credit cardholders in both geographies have adopted mobile payments.

While U.K. cardholders are slightly more likely than their U.S. counterparts to have used Apple Pay (12 percent vs. 9 percent) and Visa Checkout (9 percent vs. 6 percent) within the past month, other options, such as PayPal in-store checkout (5 percent each) and Android Pay (4 percent each) show similar use patterns. Although use metrics are low, satisfaction with each technology is extremely high.

While exposure to contactless payments may increase comfort with mobile wallets, the shift from brick-and-mortar to online shopping creates an opportunity for mobile payments to grow, according to the press release.

Most U.S. and U.K. cardholders have made an online purchase on their smartphone, but a notable minority (31 percent and 40 percent) have not. And there is a link between comfort with making an online purchase via a smartphone and usage of mobile wallets more generally. Notable proportions of U.S. and U.K. cardholders who have made online smartphone purchases have ever tried mobile wallets (33 percent and 43 percent, respectively). This is in stark comparison to their less smartphone-friendly counterparts, who are much less likely to have used a mobile wallet (7 percent and 5 percent).