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VocaLink research reveals what the UK really wants from mobile payments

VocaLink surveys over 10,000 adults in one of the UK’s largest research programmes into mobile banking and payments usage and behaviour

New research from international payments provider VocaLink reveals that growing smartphone ownership is driving the mobile payments revolution in the UK. 60% of UK consumers now own a smartphone and are using them as payment devices on the move. Whilst the appetite for mobile banking and payments in the UK is growing with half the population either already using mobile payments (20%) or interested in doing so (30%), uptake is rapidly gaining momentum amongst the future generation. Younger adults are especially likely to be mobile payment users (41% of 16 to 24 year olds) and around half of those who are not already using their smartphone to pay for goods and services are interested in doing so.

However current mobile payment behaviour remains fragmented. Mobile payments are currently used on an ad hoc basis in a range of situations, including sending money to friends and family (6%), paying for parking (5%) and purchasing groceries in supermarkets (3%). The research reveals that there is no one solution which attracts more than 5% of current mobile payment users on a regular basis.

Vocalink’s research suggests that it is banks who are ideally placed to be the trusted providers of a ubiquitous mobile payments service with 35% of respondents more likely to pay for items using their mobile phone if it was provided by their bank. 63% of people who already make some mobile payments agreed they would also trust their banks to provide this service. Finally, 30% of respondents said they would use mobile payments and interact with their bank more often if this offering was available. The bank-provided app also has another distinct advantage; it gives bank customers the ability to see their balance on screen at point of payment and make informed choices about whether to pay for goods or services and from which account.

Paul Stoddart, Managing Director Strategy & Business Development at VocaLink says: “The prolific growth in smartphone ownership and app usage, combined with an already established mobile banking market and the availability of Faster Payments, means we are entering a perfect storm for mobile commerce. Our research confirms there is prevailing consumer trust in the banks to provide this service. Given convenience is the overwhelming driver for widespread adoption, it is crucial that banks work with stakeholders including retailers, billers and telecoms companies to create the necessary infrastructure for this service to really take off. The UK is now ready, willing and able to make mobile payments creating an exciting market opportunity for companies willing to collaborate to provide a ubiquitous and trusted solution.”