17 million Brits are now ready to pay with wearable devices

Contactless payments via wearable devices such as smartwatches and keyrings are gaining momentum in the UK, with 26% of British shoppers expecting to get on board, according to new research from Mastercard.

Their popularity builds on the success of contactless, with spend on Mastercard surging by 139% in the last year. Alongside the continued growth, barriers to using contactless are also decreasing. In fact, concerns around fraud see the greatest decrease in the UK (-31%).

“Europe leads the world in contactless payments and its overwhelming success has created a demand for even greater convenience,” said Paolo Battiston, Executive Vice President Digital Payments & Labs Europe at Mastercard.

“Shoppers trust in contactless is greater than ever, and in turn it seems they are ready to take this one stage further by trying contactless through connected devices.”

Wearable devices enjoyed a boom a couple of years ago, with fashion and accessories brands including Fossil, Michael Kors and Kate Spade launching smartwatches, but had recently faded into the background.

Customers’ willingness to pay via these devices might boost the market again, and become a new way for retailers to capture more sales in store. Mastercard said the number of retail locations accepting contactless across Europe has increased by 42%. In the UK, 36% of all in-store transactions are now contactless.

Yvonne Duits, Product Owner Payments at ABN AMRO, commented: “With customer expectations clear and the new technology available today, the time has come to drop cumbersome methods of payment and embrace a better consumer experience through wearable payments.”

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