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One third of UK card payments are now contactless

By Dan Wilson August 3, 2017 - 11:03 am

According to UK Finance, one third of the card payments made in Britain are now contactless. That’s up 18% on May in 2016.

A total of £4.5 billion was spent via contactless this past May which is an from £3.9 billion in April.So contactless really is on the up and up, unsurprisingly. We wrote as such here: Is contactless making us cashless?

Head of Cards, Richard Koch at UK Finance says: “With one in three card payments now contactless, it is clear consumers value the speed and convenience of this way to pay. Card payments continue to grow at a faster pace than spending generally, a trend we predict is going to continue.”

Card payments in general continued to grow to (up 6.5% from May to April), with Brits making 1.4bn in May, up 12% year on year. In part, contactless was a spur to that increase. It’s interesting to note that debit and credit card spend as a share of total retail sales was 77% in May 2017.

Retail sector spending increased by £36 million from April to £26.2 billion in May with food and drink sector expanding by £34 million to £10 billion. Other areas of growth included: pest control services, chemists, travel and foreign exchange currency.

There can be little doubt that contactless has prompted a significant change in buyer behaviour in the past few years and it’s certainly here to stay. But 2017 seems like the year when it really became the most normal way to pay. As an anecdote, I was recently buying the beers in a pub (nothing unusual there) and wet to pay the barmaid behind the jump. She automatically proffered me the card machine with the expectation that I was going to tap my card. But I was actually planning to pay by cash. As I handed over my finest folding she commented: “Not that many people pay by cash these days.”

  • 4 months ago

    I have to admit I used my card to pay 55p for an item this week, but not contactless.

    Is it safe? There is a concern by me / others that if you lose the card it can be used too easily. Are we all really in so much of a hurry that we can not put our pin number in the machine?

    We had pin numbers to prevent fraud, now we have cards that can be used by anybody that finds or steals one.

    I am sure they have systems in place to prevent too much fraud, but how do you protest that it was not you that spend the money?

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