Why fashion retailers need to pay attention to contactless payments

Contactless payments are set to become increasingly important to the UK fashion sector as Apple launches its digital wallet Apple Pay in the UK, and the limit for contactless payments rises to £30 in September.

The Apple launch will drive awareness of the technology in the UK, a market where consumer enthusiasm for mobile payments and contactless is high.

From today, more than 250,000 stores across the UK, including Marks & Spencer, health & beauty retailer Boots and supermarket Waitrose will accept payment through Apple Pay.

Shoppers buying in-app from Zara, Zalando and Arcadia Group brands Topshop and Miss Selfridge will also be able to use Apple Pay from launch.

With the launch of Apple Pay in the UK, as well as other new mobile payment technologies such as Barclays contactless system called BPay, which offers payment enabled key fobs and bracelets, consumer familiarity and use will rise rapidly.

Until now, the £20 limit on purchases has been a barrier for adoption for many fashion retailers, but the increase to £30 in September will make it feasible for young fashion operators and the value end of the market.

For instance, in Australia, where the contactless limit is $100, uptake has been faster, with two-thirds of Australians are now aware they own a contactless payment card and 53% having made a contactless transaction, according to the RFi Group. This compares to 23% in the UK and 9% in the US.

Indeed, retailers like Liberty are rolling out Apple Pay at launch in order to help customers become familiar with it when the UK limits inevitably rise.

“Apple is great at making their applications intuitive, and have a wide range of retailers signed up to use ApplePay. We believe the Liberty customer will be keen to use it, particularly for higher value transactions,” IT director Jonathan Samols told WGSN as part of our Mobile Payments and Digital Wallets: UK Update report.

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