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UK Mobile Payment Users 2019

Contactless Cards Curtail Uptake, but Growth Potential Remains

About This Report
Growth in proximity mobile payment use in the UK remains slow but steady. Against a strong headwind of contactless card use, mobile payments have struggled to take hold, though young consumer use offers a glimmer of hope.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Uptake of proximity mobile payments in the UK isn’t something to get excited about. Slow and steady growth will mean that just more than a quarter of all smartphone users in the country will pay in-store this way by 2023, lagging many countries we track.

How many people in the UK use proximity mobile payments?

This year, 8.3 million people in the UK, or 19.1% of smartphone users, will have made at least one proximity mobile payment in the past six months. This proportion (less than one-fifth) will creep up throughout the forecast to reach 25.5% in 2023. However, globally, this positions the UK as only a “moderate” proximity mobile payment user base.

What are the leading service providers?

The usual suspects of Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay are prevalent in the UK, though PayPal’s influence in the digital landscape (via a partnership with Google that allows PayPal use within Google Pay) positions it as another key player in the proximity payment space, too.

Why has usage lagged in the UK?

The payments environment in the UK was advanced before smartphones became ubiquitous. As a result, debit and credit card trends, such as contactless cards, have progressed ahead of mobile payment trends. The minor annoyance of an extra sliver of plastic isn’t enough to turn people off contactless cards in favor of mobile proximity alternatives.

What opportunities are there for mobile payments in the UK?

Despite widespread adoption of contactless payments, UK consumers are increasingly turning to mobile proximity payments. Younger consumers, in particular, are already more accustomed to conducting their financial business on mobile. These types of behaviors are slowly translating into proximity mobile payment use.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report examines uptake and usage of proximity mobile payments in the UK and looks at what’s holding back adoption and what might spur uptake.

KEY STAT: This year, less than one-fifth of smartphone users in the UK—a little more than 8 million—will have made a proximity mobile payment at least once in the past six months.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Proximity Mobile Payment Users in the UK
  3. Contactless Cards Stifle Proximity Mobile Payment Adoption
  1. Proximity Potential: Ample Architecture, Advanced Behaviors and Compelling Edge Cases
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery


Bill Fisher


Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Jennifer Jhun
Research Director, International and Special Projects
Angela Kim
Senior Researcher
Cindy Liu
Senior Forecasting Analyst
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