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Mobile payments charge ahead as UK uptake quadruples in two years


Mobile payments such as Apple, Google and Samsung Pay have grown by 55% annually within the contactless arena and m-wallets now account for nearly 6% of all card transactions.

New data released today from Cardlytics shows that the uptake of mobile payments such as Apple, Google and Android Pay in the UK has quadrupled over the last two years.

As a proportion of total payments, mobile transactions in the UK have jumped from 1.3% in Q3 2016 to 5.6% in Q3 2018, representing an overall increase of 331%. Compared to this time last year, mobile payments have increased by 60%.

The data comes amid growing popularity among consumers as retailers become increasingly willing and able to accept mobile payments. In the contactless £30 range, the number of transactions accounted for by mobile payments increased from 1.8% in Q3 2016, to 4.6% in Q3 2017 and then 7% in Q3 2018.

Public transport and fast food the big winners

The biggest beneficiaries of growing mobile payments are quick-service merchants who have introduced contactless payment methods. This includes quick-service-restaurants (11.3%), coffee shops (11%), public transport (11%) and bars and pubs (9.25%).

This reflects that mobile payments are used more readily at merchants that people visit on a daily basis and wish to pay more expediently, while less popular amongst bigger-ticket, one off purchases.

London, South East and East most m-pay friendly

As expected, London is by far the biggest adopter of mobile pay, accounting for 7% of payments less than £30 and 5.7% of all transactions – at least 2% higher than any other region.

Outside of London, East of England and the rest of the South East have been the fastest movers, with 3.3% and 3.2% of all transactions respectively carried out via Apple, Google or Android pay. Yorkshire ranks fourth with 2.9%.

Duncan Smith, Commercial Director at Cardlytics, explains: “The huge growth in contactless payments has been well documented, and we’re now seeing mobile payments making a big contribution to that growth, often at the expense of cash. Having a broader view of consumer spending in categories that were previously cash-heavy allows us to provide more relevant rewards at places where consumers prefer to shop. This is also a big opportunity for banks because by offering these rewards through their native channels, we are helping to build loyalty and increase share of wallet.”


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