New research[1] from Samsung reveals that the days of plastic cards are numbered as Brits ‘go mobile’ to shop faster and safer in the new world of retail

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd has revealed the results of a national survey into the way Brits are choosing to pay as they reacquaint themselves with the new ‘low touch’ world of retail. With 57 days passing since so-called ‘Freedom Day’ in the UK, the findings of this research, commissioned by Samsung Pay, suggests that the nation has potentially reached a ‘tipping point’ in how they choose to pay for their goods when out and about.

Whilst traditionally using cash or plastic cards for payments, the country has embraced more digital forms of payment over the last few years with almost half (46%) of Brits saying they were more willing to pay digitally at the peak of the lockdown in 2020. But as stores reopened in 2021 with more stringent health and safety measures, we’re seeing an even greater shift towards more low contact, mobile forms of payment.

By giving people the ability to turn their smartphone or smartwatch into a digital wallet that houses customers’ credit, debit and loyalty cards for use virtually everywhere contactless is accepted, the research also found that remarkably, two thirds of people (62%) would now prefer to use their payment card through their mobile wallet, which is double the number of people from last year (31%)[i].

With the nation more tech savvy than ever, and with hygiene, convenience and simplicity top of people’s minds when it comes to payments, shoppers are increasingly turning to their devices to pay. 90% of people agreed with the statement that using a smartphone or smartwatch to make contactless payments during the pandemic was more convenient; with 4 in 5 people (80%) saying they enjoy the fact they can switch between their smartphone and smartwatch to make payments.

Whilst mobile payments aren’t new, the nation has been addicted to spending on plastic in recent years; however, the tide is beginning to turn.  Nearly half of those polled (42%) agree that carrying multiple physical cards is inconvenient and over half of people (53%) would happily no longer receive plastic payment cards from their bank.

Commenting on this research, Teg Dosanjh, Director of Connected Services and Technology, Samsung UK and Ireland, said: “This shift is indicative of the way customers are migrating towards mobile payments as confidence and convenience grows in more digital forms of transaction.

The reality is retail looks and feels different these days, and customers are savvy about ways to keep themselves safe in store whilst speeding up transactions at the till. Mobile payments are not only more convenient and more hygienic, but they can offer added benefits in terms of cashback and rewards – something we’re proud to offer through our Samsung Pay and Pay+ product.”

Aside from added convenience, one of the concerns driving customers towards mobile forms of payment is hygiene. With the pandemic making people hyper-conscious about germs, it’s unsurprising that despite 58% of Brits saying they still use physical payment cards, a staggering 86% of people agreed that using a smartphone or smartwatch to make a contactless payment during the pandemic made them ‘feel safe’.

Teg added: “Payment doesn’t need to be one dimensional anymore. We’re a nation of tech savvy spenders and want the flexibility of being able to pay however, and whenever we choose. With Samsung Pay, that might be via your smartphone or your smartwatch; the power to pay really is in the customer’s hands now.”

The move to mobile payment is also being compounded by people’s heightened environmental concerns. A fifth of people (20%) feel that using smart devices to pay will be better for the environment and one in four (24%) see it as more convenient than carrying physical cards.

Samsung Pay is a free app that allows people to turn their smartphone or watch into a digital wallet. It lets customers carry their credit, debit and loyalty cards on their device for use virtually everywhere contactless is accepted.

But that’s not all. Stored in the Samsung Pay wallet, Samsung Pay+[ii] (powered by Curve) is a digital card that simplifies spending, allowing customers to use any major UK bank card from their Samsung smartphone or smartwatch. This includes earning up to 20% cashback on a range of major brands[iii] including 5% cashback at Samsung Pay+ also allows users to better manage their finances by tracking spend across different categories and providing an interface through which people can see all of their bank balances in one place, no matter the bank.

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[1] The research was carried out by Ketchum Research and Analytics, on behalf of Samsung. A total of 2,000 people aged 18+ were surveyed in the UK. Fieldwork ran from 12th to 26th August 2021.


[ii] Valid on Mastercard and Visa branded debit and credit cards only. If you are an existing Curve user, you cannot also apply for Samsung Pay+.

[iii] Cashback offers may vary as they are customised for each user. Offers only valid on spend made using Samsung Pay+ (and not Samsung Pay with another card).  Users must download Curve app to choose merchants and access cashback.  Daily transaction limits apply.

September 2023 issue

2023 A1 Buyers Guide