Huge increase in contactless payments

Contactless payments are now part of the fabric for UK consumers, with this form of spending rising more than three-fold during 2015.

Stats from the UK Cards Association show that £7.75bn was spent contactlessly last year. As well as being up significantly on the £2.3bn figure from 2014, it was more than double the amount spent contactlessly during the previous seven years combined.

The £7.75bn was spent on a total of just over a billion purchases over the 12 months. During December, the equivalent of 52 contactless payments were made every second.

Meanwhile, Transport for London figures show that more than a million journeys are made on its network every day using contactless payment.

“The latest statistics reveal the increasing popularity of contactless payments over cash,” said Rachel Springall, an analyst at Moneyfacts.

“The popularity of contactless payments has been boosted by the influx of cards that are now enabled with the function, with many providers now issuing these cards as standard.

“Many shoppers will also notice that more retailers are offering terminals that have a contactless option, which speeds up payment at the till.

“Consumers who shop on a frequent basis and make lots of small purchases are increasingly likely to use the contactless option. This is because the limit for contactless spending was raised to £30 from September 2015, which means spenders can use contactless payment to buy most ad-hoc purchases.”

There are nearly 80 million debit and credit cards featuring contactless technology, representing about half of the cards in circulation.

Graham Peacop, of the UK Cards Association, said: “The swift increase in contactless usage continued apace last year, with nearly one in eight card transactions now using the technology.

“Whether it’s to stock up in the supermarket, travel to work, or buy your lunch, contactless is a fast, easy and secure way to make payments.”