UK Shoppers Prove Leery of Mobile Payments-Driven Checkout

June 14, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

The notion of a self-checkout driven by a mobile payments system coupled with a mobile app—or in some rarer cases a mobile website—is a welcome one for many. In the UK, however, it’s being greeted with a lot more skepticism, and it’s all a function of that old bugaboo: data security.

The word from a recent Paysafe study is that 52 percent of UK consumers would prefer to stand in line rather than use a mobile app on the strength of “data privacy fears.” It’s not just a matter of exposing oneself to potential fraud, however; 69 percent are concerned about being charged incorrectly, and 59 percent believe the whole concept of a checkout-free store is just too risky. A certain but unnamed proportion of that 59 percent, however, would “…need to know more before using them.”

What more there is to know, exactly, is unclear here, but what is clear is that Brits in general have concerns about data security. Forty-three percent offered up concern in the Paysafe study about the general use of their data.

We know from general anecdote that the Brits are almost culturally ingrained to stand in lines; “queuing up” is a familiar practice there, so the notion that Brits would feel more at home in checkout lines isn’t exactly outlandish. However, we also know from similar anecdote that Brits are increasingly at home with mobile payments. A mobile app for checking out is essentially the same thing, just somewhat augmented; instead of standing in line at a checkout stand, they just use their mobile payments systems directly by scanning the items themselves with a smartphone camera.

While the two concepts would seem to be at loggerheads—how is it okay to use mobile payments, but only to use them at a physical checkout stand?—that just seems to be the nature of the beast right now. It’s also worth pointing out that all of the figures aren’t anywhere near 100 percent, so there’s a portion that don’t have a problem here. That’s room enough for a market in the early going, and in the end, perhaps the start of something much bigger.