Contactless Payments on the Rise, Now Used for One in Four Card Payments

 Monday, 24 April 2017

 Payment Technology

Data from The UK Cards Association has revealed that contactless payments are continuing to rise, with one quarter of all card payments processed using this method.

In November 2016, 325 million purchases were completed using contactless debit and credit cards, accounting for 25 per cent of all card payments for the month compared to just 11 per cent in November 2015. The average contactless transaction for that month was £8.95, up from £8.03.

This increase resulted in a record total of £2.9 billion contactless payments in November alone, an increase of 184% from the previous year.  To put this in perspective, November 2015 was the very first time contactless spending surpassed £1 billion in the course of one month.

Currently, 101.8 million contactless debit and credit cards are in use in the UK. 88 percent (nine in 10) of these transactions are made using a debit card—a greater proportion than card payments in general (78 per cent).

Richard Koch, Head of Policy at The UK Cards Association, commented:

“With 125 taps every second in the UK, it’s clear that people are opting for contactless when they are at the till. No longer is it just for the lunchtime sandwich, consumers are using their contactless cards wherever they go – for the grocery shop, in clothes stores, and, increasingly, for the commute too.”

An increasing number of charities are beginning to use the technology as well.  Cancer Research UK utilised the technology on World Cancer Day, allowing people to easily donate £2 by tapping their cards against one of 16 contactless donation terminals. During last year’s Poppy Appeal, the Royal British Legion tried out contactless collection tins in branches of NatWest, and Blue Cross introduced their fundraising Tap Dogs—dogs wearing coats which could accept contactless donations via mobile phones.