Will the launch of Apple Pay see consumer debt across the UK rise to out-of-control levels?

13th July 2015


With Apple’s new payment system rumoured to launch this week – possibly as early as Tuesday 14 July – research shows the new technology could see consumers’ spending habits spiral out of control.

Apple Pay™ will allow shoppers to make contactless payments with their iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Apple Watch. At launch more than 250,000 locations will accept the system.

While the technology is welcomed by those hoping for a simpler, easier and faster way of paying, a survey from price comparison site uSwitch.com found that a quarter of people fear that using their phone instead of cards and cash will see them spend more. In addition, a similar amount expect it might drive them to make more impulse purchases.

READ MORE: Will Apple Pay™ be a “game changer”?

The study found that consumers are after extra features to help them keep a handle on their spending, such as the ability to check their balance and a cap on ‘tap and go’ payments being part of mobile payments. Some 10% would like limits on when and where they can use mobile phone payments – such as the time of day and in pubs and clubs. Worryingly though, a quarter fear no other tools will help them stay in control of their finances.

Given the size and brand power behind Apple,  unsurprising 26% said they would feel more comfortable about using mobile payments with the Californian giant behind the technology.

But, despite the power of the brand, it does not seem that even Apple Pay will be the final nail in the coffin for old-fashioned cash – almost six in 10 consumers, at 57%, are not comfortable with using their mobile phone to pay for goods or services. And despite the fact that – in theory at least – Apple Pay is a safer way of paying than cash and cards, according to uSwitch, fears over the technology’s security, as cited by 45% of respondents, are still topping the list of concerns.

Commenting on the study’s results Nicolas Frankcom, money expert at uSwitch.com, said: “It’s great to see technology making shopping simpler, but the convenience of tap and pay may have a sting in its tail. As payment becomes simpler and more detached, there’s a danger that debt problems could worsen.

“Our research shows that a quarter of consumers fear they’ll spend more money than intended if they use their phone rather than cash or a card to pay. One in ten would even welcome limits on where and when they can use mobile phone payments to help curb impulse spending.”

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