New tech: Contactless payments

We may be able to leave our wallets and purses in our pockets from this year. Here is everything you need to know about contactless payments.
by
New tech: Contactless payments

2015 COULD BE THE YEAR WHERE OUR WALLETS AND PURSES STAY IN OUR POCKETS.

Contactless payments are popular in the UK already, but they’re mostly made by swiping a credit or debit card at a terminal. You still have to get your card from your wallet or purse, so it doesn’t really save you much time. This is all going to change though – major manufacturers have got some exciting products lined up to give us lucky consumers the choice to pay via our favourite smartphone, smartwatch or wearable device.

WHAT ARE THE ATTRACTIONS?

Can’t quite see the attraction of using a mobile device for payments?

Then think about visiting a festival or amusement park and being given a bracelet that lets you automatically pay for your food, drink and merchandise. You’re free to enjoy yourself without worrying about carrying your cash or cards around with you.

And if you’re a regular commuter, you won’t need much persuading that waving a wristband at the ticket barrier as you walk through is going to save you some precious time and effort every time you travel.

CONTACTLESS IN THE UK…

NFC (Near Field Communications) is the technology that enables contactless payments. There are now over 300,000 NFC-enabled terminals throughout the UK, and the latest smartphones from the likes of Samsung, Sony and Nokia now come with a built-in NFC chip.

The UK mobile network operator, EE, is also taking advantage of NFC with ‘Cash on Tap’, the contactless payment service it made available on selected EE smartphones.

And in September 2014, TfL (Transport for London) announced that it would be accepting contactless payments from NFC-enabled devices, allowing travellers to use eligible smartphones on the tube and overground rail services.

THE BIG PLAYERS – COMING TO THE UK SOON?

Over in the US, Apple recently launched its contactless payment system Apple Pay, which allows owners of the newest iPhones to complete purchases by simply pressing the fingerprint sensor on their phone. Although a UK release date for Apple Pay hasn’t been confirmed, we should expect to see it sometime in 2015.

Samsung could also be launching a mobile payments system in the US next year, and this could also take advantage of fingerprint recognition as it’s already a feature in their latest phones. These plans are still in the early stages though.

WILL IT BE SMARTPHONES OR WEARABLES?

There’s a lot of debate around which contactless payment method will be the most popular. Will it be smartphones, or is it more likely to be wearables?

We think wearables might just have the edge. The idea of hitting shiny new smartphones against payment readers might not be too popular with a lot of careful owners. And wearables could be less prone to theft – a sneak thief is more likely to be attracted to a £300 smartphone than a £50 bracelet.

What’s more, waving your wrist at a card reader is surely a lot easier than going through the hassle of:

  1. Getting your smartphone out of your bag or pocket.
  2. Entering your password.
  3. Selecting the correct app.
  4. Making your payment.
  5. Putting your smartphone back in its place.

A CONTACTLESS AND SECURE FUTURE?

Consumers may still need some convincing that mobile payments are safe and secure – especially with a number of high profile data breaches hitting the headlines in 2014 – but features like fingerprint recognition should go some way to reassure them. In fact, devices that take advantage of fingerprint recognition could become accepted as a more secure way of paying than ever before, as customers won’t have to reveal any of their card details anymore.

If one or two big names enter the UK market with contactless payment devices in 2015, who knows? Our shopping habits this time next year could be very different…

So what do you think? Will you be happy to pay with your smartphone? Are you waiting for any exciting wearables to hit these shores from the US? Feel free to share your comments below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

comments powered by Disqus
For years now, bigger has been better when it comes to handsets but as the main players start to set
With the Samsung Galaxy S6 ready to arrive in stores, we're taking a look at the best accessories to
If you're planning to buy a HTC One M9, you may want to get some accessories to go with it. Here are

11 January, 2019
From bendy phones to 5G networks, here’s our roundup of the biggest smartphone announcements...
22 November, 2018
Our biggest Black Tag event ever is now heading into Black Friday, where you can...
8 November, 2018
After years of rumours, Samsung has unveiled its first ever mobile phone at a conference...
29 October, 2018
OnePlus has unveiled its latest amazing new phone. Say hello to the OnePlus 6T. It's...
11 October, 2018
Samsung has just unveiled the world's first quad camera phone. It has an incredible...
10 October, 2018
Samsung has been showing off its new Galaxy range at an event in London. Here's a...
9 October, 2018
Google has officially launched its new Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones....
5 October, 2018
Nokia has just unveiled its latest smartphone - the Nokia 7.1. It's a great looking...
21 September, 2018
Bill capping is here to take away those nasty surprises, and in this article, we’ll...
12 September, 2018
The waiting is finally over, and Apple’s latest smartphones – the iPhone XS, iPhone...
3 September, 2018
We’ve always been taught to judge a camera phone by how many megapixels it has. But...
30 August, 2018
Honor has finally launched the Honor Play smartphone in Europe. It's a powerful phone...