But the pace of growth is set to slow in the long term with the ubiquity of contactless cards thought to be holding back the uptake of mobile pay, according to analysts.
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A new forecast from eMarketer estimates 22 per cent of those with smartphones will be using their phone to pay by the end of 2018, up from just 13 per cent in 2016 and the equivalent of 9.2m people.
Growth is set to continue in double digits for the next three year, but it will slow, falling to 8.5 per cent in 2021, with 29 per cent of smartphone users choosing to pay with them – 12.6m people.
“There’s no doubt that mobile proximity payments are beginning to get a foothold in the UK,” said eMarketer senior analyst Bill Fisher.
“But they face some tough competition that just isn’t present in many other countries. Any standard issue bank card in the UK, both debit and credit, now comes with contactless technology as standard. Mobile proximity payment providers need to convince consumers that their tech offers benefits above and beyond this well-entrenched, and incredibly convenient, method of proximity payment.”
Google this week said it would combine several different payment products, including Android Pay and Google Wallet, under a single name, Google Pay.