The world of NFC payments has been a rough one, yet, yesterday saw a huge step forward in payments made via NFC. For the first time, it seems that monthly spending on contactless cards has exceeded the £100 million mark, at least that’s according to data published by the UK Cards Association on the 29th April. It’s also been revealed that 78 million NFC enabled SIM cards were shipped in 2013, suggesting that more and more people are making the jump to NFC payment technologies.
During March 2014, consumers spent a record £109.2 million with contactless cards. This is an increase of £22.2 million since February 2014, and a 200 per cent increase year on year.
More than 370 contactless transactions are now made every minute in the UK, which has more than tripled in the last year.
Interestingly, NFC SIM shipments cards have also increased by 159 per cent to 78 million. The biggest orders came from Japan and Korea, with North America bringing up third place. However, it’ll be interesting to see if these numbers stay constant as HCE practically eliminates the need for an NFC SIM for mobile payments.
For now, cards are where the future lies, with 42.4 million contactless cards in circulation in the UK, with one in three cardholders having a contactless card.
Still, the average value of a contactless transaction is low, at around £6.46. But that’s understandable as most places only let you spend £20 using NFC technology in your card.
“Contactless technology is a fast, easy and secure way to pay by card,” said UK Card Association MD Graham Peacop. “Whether it’s to buy a cup of coffee or pay for a trip on the bus, today’s figures show that consumers are voting with their wallets and find contactless cards a very convenient way to pay.”
WorldPay also came forward to back up such findings, pointing out that it has already carried 61 million contactless payments with a value of £433 million over its network.
“We’ve been championing contactless since day one,” said WorldPay UK’s CMO James Frost, “so this announcement from The UK Cards Association simply reconfirms the surge we’ve already seen in consumer confidence – which has seen average sale size grow 27% in just two years. If you’re a business regularly taking payments of £20 or less, contactless is a must. You can serve customers quicker, cut down queues and never miss a sale during peak times. That’s why we helped over 70 large retailers move to contactless last year.”
It seems that consumers are finally starting to realise the potential within NFC. But is it too little too late? Or should the industry hold back from thrusting people forward into the world of BLE?