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Mobile banking soars in the UK as trust grows

British consumers are embracing mobile payments at a faster rate than ever, new research has found.

The latest State of Pay 2017 report from Vocalink has found that UK users are increasingly switching to mobile payment services as they look for a quick and easy way to pay with their devices.

The report, which resulted from a survey of over 2,000 British consumers of all ages, found that the prevalence of services such as Apple Pay has led to mobile payments being widely accepted and normalised across the country.

Overall, half of Brits (52 per cent) are now using a banking app on their smartphone, up from 38 per cent in 2015, showing the importance of banks working with technology providers to offer an easy-to-use service, with a third of those surveyed saying they have used a mobile banking app to make and receive payments.

Half of consumers have used their mobile devices to pay for something - but the report found that this is no longer limited to low-cost purchases such as a coffee, with expensive items such as plane tickets now increasingly bought on a smartphone.

When it comes to security, biometrics seems to be winning the battle to be seen as a widespread and popular solution. A third of users say they have used fingerprint scanning to authenticate a payment, with 26 per cent backing the use of facial recognition technology.

This has all contributed to a increasing level of trust for mobile banking and payment services, with the report finding that consumers would trust the likes of PayPal or Mastercard to recommend a payment service to them as much as they would their high street bank.

“What’s clear is that while the payments industry has tackled some of the hurdles for consumers, such as convenience and choice in payments, people are increasingly looking for trusted partners to provide reliable and secure payment methods,” said Paul Stoddart, CEO at Vocalink.  

“While millennials are embracing new technologies, the sector still needs to work together to reassure the broader population that new measures such as biometrics and new developments in AI payment solutions are providing sophisticated and robust security allowing them to transact safely and with confidence.  Once we have tackled these concerns, the rise of digital payments will only increase.”

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro, and has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and ITProPortal.