Mobile wallets coming to UK in time for Olympics

Summary:Visa road-testing contactless mobile payments in Spain, ahead of UK launch...

...used the mobile wallet to make a contactless payment, according to Visa and its trial partners, and 70 per cent of the participating retailers have been paid by mobile.

Just over half of the triallists (52 per cent) are regular users of the mobile payments service, making one or more contactless payments per week, while 48 per cent are occasional users, making an m-payment every 15 days or longer.

The majority of purchases - 60 per cent - made using the contactless handsets fall into the sub-€20 bracket, about a third (30 per cent) of which cost less than €6.

Supermarkets have been the most popular retailers for Sitges trialists to whip out their mobile wallet, with 52 per cent of the purchases being made in 'supermercados'. After supermarkets, restaurants were next most popular places, accounting for 14 per cent of all the transactions, followed by clothes shops (six per cent) and pharmacies (four per cent).

Mobile shopping: Contactless POS and NFC handset

The NFC handset and POS after a contactless transaction has been processed
(Photo credit: Visa)

According to feedback from trialists, 70 per cent said they were highly satisfied with the mobile wallet payment experience. Asked whether they would use the wallet in future, over half (66 per cent) said they would definitely do so, a quarter (25 per cent) said they probably would, and eight per cent said perhaps. None of the trialists said they would "probably not" or "definitely not" use it in future.

To see the trial in action, check out our photo story Photos: Sun, sand, mobile wallets - Europe's biggest m-payments trial.

Visa's ultimate vision for mobile payments is an ambitious one: a Visa representative demonstrated another prototype which integrates multiple mobile payment options into a single app interface - not just contactless payments, but person-to-person mobile payments and money transfers, and also the ability to pay online for goods or services using a virtual Visa card over the mobile web.

Noting past hype around mobile payments and failure to deliver on it, Harris said the environment is now more conducive to launching advanced applications such as mobile wallets than in previous years. "Fundamentally we were going a little bit too fast too soon," she said.

The rise of smartphones such as the iPhone have helped to make consumers more comfortable with the idea of doing more on their devices, according to Harris: "Today we have devices coming onto the market like the iPhone... that are actually raising the bar in terms of what consumers expect of their phones but also creating a fantastic user experience on the device to give consumers more confidence in doing advanced applications from their handsets."

Better and faster mobile networks - with 3G and even 4G network rollouts - are also putting wind in the sails of mobile payments.

However Harris said that big hurdles still remain, including...

Topics: Mobility

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