Only 17% of UK consumers are ‘completely aware’ of what contactless mobile payments are, according to a survey by eDigitalResearch.

However, 67% of respondents have heard of the technology before, suggesting that more needs to be done to educate consumers about how NFC works.

This tallies with research published recently by VoucherCodes.co.uk which found that 55% of British consumers were unable to name a single mobile payment brand.

That survey also found that 60% of people would avoid mobile payments altogether, with security concerns (36%) the most common reason.

The eDigital study, based on a consumer survey of 2,078 respondents, found that awareness of mobile wallets is even lower than that of NFC. More than half of respondents (54%) had never heard of the technology and just 7% claimed to be completely aware of it.

The lack of awareness of mobile payments isn’t surprising when you look at the number of people with access to the technology.

Among respondents who own a smartphone, just 4% claimed to have NFC technology available on their handset while a further 32% were unsure if they did or not. Of the small number that do have NFC enabled handsets, around half (47%) have actually used it to make a purchase.

The report also looked at future use of mobile payments. While it is difficult for consumers to predict future behaviour, 18% of smartphone owners say they are either quite or very likely to use the technology in future.

In contrast, 47% said they were quite or very unlikely to use it.

As with the VoucherCodes survey, security concerns were one of the top reasons for not using mobile payments in future.

In order to overcome these concerns, eDigitalResearch recommends that the industry work to put in place three key features:

  • Consumer awareness: build the public’s knowledge and address security concerns.
  • Retailer adoption: greater awareness will build as more and more retailers encourage their customers to use the technology.
  • Access to technology: contactless mobile payments are currently only available to a select few due to the limited number of NFC enabled handsets available on the market.