Though issuers in the United Kingdom began rolling out contactless payment in earnest nearly a year ago, 88% of British consumers have never heard of the technology, according to a survey from UK-based consulting company CPP Group PLC. The findings come from surveys of 2,257 UK consumers conducted in May. The percentage is high because contactless backers have focused on London, leaving consumers in other areas relatively uninformed, Geoff Barker, head of contactless payments at CPP, tells CardLine Global. Barker says UK issuers plan to launch contactless initiatives in other densely populated cities within the next few months. After contactless payment was explained to those surveyed, 77% said they worried about payment fraud via contactless technology because PINs are not needed to spend with the cards. "Those concerns are based on overall card fraud in the UK, which has been a problem the past couple of years," Barker says. Adil Moussa, an analyst with United States-based Aite Group LLC, says security concerns about contactless payments are legitimate, noting he has not received "straight" answers from card issuers about contactless security. "What happens if I'm too close to a contactless reader [that's processing another transaction]?" Moussa asks. "You really have to be close, like half an inch, but what if I'm that close? Does that transaction get deducted from my card?" Some consumers, however, see benefits to contactless, as 49% of respondents said they believe contactless cards would result in shorter wait times when purchasing goods at retail shops. The same percentage liked the idea of not carrying cash. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed believe contactless cards give users more control because cards do not leave their possession when paying for goods. "Consumers will realize over time the convenience of contactless," Barker says. Those surveyed also feared increased debt with contactless cards, as 34% believe they will spend more as a result of the convenience of the cards. Barker says a concentrated effort is needed to educate consumers about contactless, which can help lead to widespread use. "When you start throwing out PayWave, PayPass and anything else available, it can be confusing for the customer," he says. "The card issuers and banks need to get together to better explain the benefits of contactless as well as (addressing) security concerns."

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