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UK consumers don't trust NFC payments

U.K. consumers have a low awareness of NFC payments and mistrust them, according to a report by the market research firm YouGov.

YouGov's "The Future of Mobile Digital and Contactless Payments" report shows that only 35 percent of U.K. adults are aware of NFC-enabled mobile devices, a figure that has barely increased since YouGov last looked into this topic in September 2012. The latest findings also show that fewer than one in 10 (9 percent) mobile and smartphone owners know their device is NFC-enabled and, of these, just over one-fifth (22 percent) ever use their device to make payments.

Non-adopters are concerned about the safety of NFC payments. Amongst this group, 56 percent do not believe the technology is safe to use, 53 percent are concerned about financial exposure should their phone be lost or stolen, and 39 percent say they do not see a need for the technology.

By contrast, the U.K. experienced strong growth in both awareness and usage of contactless payment cards in the year to September 2013, YouGov said in a press release. Awareness of contactless card technology grew from 55 percent to 70 percent of respondents during the period, and the percentage of respondents acknowledging ownership of a contactless card increased from 16 percent to 25 percent.

However, use of contactless payment cards was more limited, with only four in 10 (40 percent) owners ever using their contactless card. The one key drawback to more usage is that contactless technology has yet to be universally adopted by U.K. retailers, with six in 10 users (62 percent) wanting more places that accept contactless card payments.

The industry has yet to raise awareness of NFC mobile payments or to put forth a compelling consumer value proposition, said John Gilbert, consulting director at YouGov Technology and Telecoms. Gilbert also emphasized that limited retail adoption curbs consumer desire to transition to NFC payments.

Learn more about contactless/NFC and trends and statistics.