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Super Saturday dawns on the High Street and m-payments come to the fore

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With Saturday 17th December set to be the UK’s busiest shopping day as consumers rush to purchase their last-minute Christmas presents, many will be turning to using mobile to pay.

Ahead of what is being dubbed ‘Super Saturday’, Thales e-Security looked into how UK consumers will be shopping for their goods this festive season, and the research reveals that the so called “death of the high street” could be greatly exaggerated.

Despite all the hype around online and mobile shopping, more than half of UK consumers (52%) still said they plan to do their Christmas shopping in a physical store. But more interestingly, one in 10 (13%) will reach for their smartphones to pay using solutions such as Apple Pay.

The move to mobile marks a distinct shift away from cash. The study also finds that nearly three quarters of UK consumers (73%) said they plan to use their debit cards.

Thales obviously has a security bent, but the research does make the important point that consumers want convenience and speed, but they want their data to be safe – and any data breach can be very harmful to reputation.

Jose Diaz, director of payment strategy at Thales e-Security explains: “In a world where cash is losing its preference, retailers are having to meet consumer demand for faster, easier and more convenient methods of paying in-store. However, convenience doesn’t always correlate with security. Payment service providers and banks are increasingly under pressure to provide underlying security measures, whilst at the same time ensuring consumers face as few barriers to the purchasing experience as possible.”

By not implementing robust security measures, payment security providers put their retail customers at risk of cybercrime and data breaches – and a subsequent erosion of brand loyalty. The research found that a significant number of UK consumers (24%) said they would no longer shop with a retailer if it had been hacked and customer credit card information stolen. Over half (54%) said they would continue shopping with retailer but would only use cash, not cards.

Diaz continued: “Retailers need to take action to ensure their customer data is protected, and their own reputation. At peak shopping times such as the festive period, you can be certain that those with malicious intent will be trying to get their hands on valuable financial data. Payment service providers need to recognise the importance of encryption in digital payments. With encryption in place, payment data is protected right from the moment of capture, safeguarding customers’ information and keeping the Christmas crooks at bay.”

The move away from cash towards mobile payments and a greater embracing of mobile wallets in store has also been echoed by research last week from Visa, which found that he adoption of contactless cards is having a tangible impact on other payment methods, such as mobile. Europe-wide, contactless card users are more open to using a mobile device as a payment method in a shop (52% contactless card user vs 32% non-contactless card user), to shop via a retailer app (49% vs 31%) and to pay for a meal (50% vs 30%).

As well as reaping the benefits of contactless payments, consumers are also recognising the benefits of other new payment methods. In 2016, 44% of the people Visa surveyed across Europe reported using mobile payment apps, up from 38% last year. Nearly half (46%) agree that having the option of paying using their mobile or wearable device has made it easier to buy the items they need.

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