Just 7% of shoppers have used contactless payment technology, according to an exclusive Retail Week poll.
The research found that the biggest factor deterring consumers is a potential security risk, with 82% citing this as an inhibiting reason.
The survey revealed that, while 43% of the 2,000 adults polled were aware of contactless technology, 90% said they had never used a contactless card or near field communication-enabled phone. About 3% said they did not know if they had used it.
However, shoppers accept technology such as contactless will be more ubiquitous in the longer term. The survey, carried out by Toluna QuickSurveys for Retail Week, found 36% of consumers believe the UK will become a cashless society over the next 20 years.
Visa said a quarter of its cards in the UK are contactless enabled, and that use of contactless rose 22% in the three months to March this year compared with the previous quarter.
Contactless technology speeds up queuing times by allowing consumers to pay for transactions under £20 by swiping their card or device against an electronic reader, without the need to enter a PIN.
Research from Kantar Insights found the payments industry and retailers need to join forces to persuade shoppers to override security fears.
Anne Benoist, director of Kantar Media’s TGI insights and integration, said: “A lot of the marketing for cashless payments focuses on the fact that it’s straightforward, but it has not tackled the underlying issue of technology going wrong. Those fears need to be allayed.”