Contactless card spending is on the up – and the grey pound is the engine behind it. Spending money with contactless payments topped £1.5bn in a month for the first time in March, with one in seven card transactions now contactless compared to one in 16 a year ago.
The figures are also more than double those in August 2015 when we last featured contactless payments on this blog.
Experts put it down to older shoppers catching up with young people, with research from Barclaycard finding that the number of ‘tap and go’ payments made by those 60 or over has increased by 116% over the past year.
The 18-24 age group has seen a 49% rise, while among 26-45 year olds it has gone up 65% – however in the 46-60 year old age group, the number using contactless payments has increased by 97%.
The figures arguably that the older generation are increasingly turning to faster, easier (no need to tap in numbers) and arguably more secure contactless payments rather than cash.
With contactless payments, you can touch your debit or credit card on the terminal, or your smartphone or tablet, or even your watch or a keyfob. No need for a PIN or a signature, all over in seconds.
In total, there were 179.6 million contactless purchases in March 2016, with 67 made every second –one in six card purchases on the average British high street is now contactless.
And with the upper limit for a purchase having been raised from £20 to £30 in September last year, there’s even more you can buy with this method of purchase. As of March 2016, on average each contactless transaction is for £8.40.
The largest growth in the use of the cards has occurred in Manchester (247%), Glasgow, Cardiff and Edinburgh, while in London a table-leading 36% of transactions up to £30 are now made contactlessly.
Is it the end for cash payments? Probably not, but the Payments Council predicted last year that among consumers, cashless payments will be the majority by 2016 due to younger shoppers increasingly less likely to use cash – and now it seems that the older generations are helping make that even more of a reality.