One in five smartphones will feature near field communication (NFC) technology by 2014, says Juniper Research.

NFC uses short-range wireless technology to transmit data which allows mobile phone users to pay for goods and services by simply waving their handset across a special contactless reader in a store.

Juniper says this equates to around 300 million handsets worldwide, with services in the US and the UK driving the growth of the technology. The research firm also revealed it expects North America to account for half of all the handsets with NFC.

"Although there are still hurdles ahead, NFC prospects have been boosted by the succession of mobile operator and device vendor announcements. France is a case in point where operators expect to sell one million NFC devices this year," said Howard Wilcox, the author of Juniper's NFC Retail Marketing & Mobile Payments Report.

Juniper's research comes as a survey by online voucher site MyVoucherCodes revealed 53 percent of Brits 'welcome' the introduction of the technology.

The site quizzed 1,267 Smartphone users and of those that welcome the technology, 67 percent believed it would make purchasing goods and services 'more convenient' while 19 percent said the technology would 'reduce the need to carry cash and credit/debit cards'.

"Most technology is created with an aim to make life easier, and NFC technology is really a means of making the system for purchasing goods more efficient. Whilst it may seem an odd concept at the moment, I am sure that in years to come we'll all be swiping our handsets at the till, wondering what we did before!," said Mark Pearson, chairman of MyVoucherCodes.