Contactless payments tripled in the UK last year

British consumers made contactless transactions to the value of £25bn (US$30.6bn) last year, up from £7.75bn (US$9.48bn) in 2015, The UK Cards Association reports. One in four card payments in the UK was made using a contactless card in November 2016, up from one in seven at the beginning of the year.

The UK Cards Association

Data from Barclaycard‘s latest Contactless Spending Index confirms the trend, with the card issuer saying that 55% of all transactions below the contactless spending limit of £30 (US$36.70) are now being performed using contactless technology.

“With all major supermarkets now accepting contactless following the roll-out by Sainsbury’s late last year, groceries bought through ‘touch and go’ technology have risen 136% by value and 114% by volume in the last 12 months — as shoppers make higher value purchases with their contactless cards and devices and also use them more frequently,” Barclaycard says.

“It’s not just supermarkets, however, that are enjoying a roaring contactless trade. Other sectors to have seen a steep year-on-year rise in ‘touch and go’ spending are: service stations (218%), department stores (147%), discount stores (120%), hotels and motels (100%) and convenience stores (87%).”

Analysis of transaction data and a consumer survey conducted by payments processor Worldpay in February found similar growth in mobile transactions, with the number of mobile transactions as a percentage of all in-store transactions up by 247% in the UK over the last year.

Adoption of contactless payments in the UK is growing fastest among those aged over 60, Barclaycard says, with the number of contactless users in the age group increasing 64% in the last 12 months. The 50-64 age group shows the next highest increase at 60%, followed by 35-49 year-olds (45%), 25-34 year-olds (30%) and 18-24 year-olds (23%).

  • Willam Hugh Murray, CISSP

    Everything is relative, at least in this report. One suspects that the 65+ base is small.