Contactless payments are on the rise


Have you made a contactless payment recently? Today? Contactless payments – a quick and simple way to pay for items of £30 and under – are changing the way we spend money.

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.

And this method of payment is increasing rapidly, with Barclaycard research in late August finding that contactless spending had more than tripled in the past 12 months.

According to the Payments Council, 2014 saw cashless payments overtake transactions using coins and notes for the first time – with just 48% of payments in cash by consumers, businesses and financial organisations.

The same industry body also predicts that among consumers, cashless payments will be the majority by 2016 due to younger shoppers increasingly less likely to use cash.

How much is spent? By whom? And where?
Latest statistics (August 2015) from the UK Cards Association show that £633.8m was spent in the UK in the month using a contactless card – an increase of 2.3% on the previous month, and 219.4% over the year. There were 89m contactless transactions made, which is 235.9% up over the year.

What’s also fascinating is where we use contactless payments now. The increase this year from £20 to £30 as the maximum possible for a single contactless payment has allowed for greater usage in supermarkets and restaurants, as well as for paying for public transport and small shopping transactions.

Indeed, the Barclaycard research found that supermarkets (29%) and restaurants (20%) make up virtually half of all contactless transactions. Fast food, pharmacies and pubs are popular too, as well as paying for public transport tickets.

Interestingly, 50% of contactless users are now aged 50 or over, with 20 per cent aged over 65, which perhaps gives the lie to the notion that it is only the young who get their cards out and tap n’go.

Be safe with contactless payments
The UK Cards Association says that contactless payment fraud is “extremely rare”, but if your card is lost or stolen, always report it to your bank/card provider and, if you feel your identity may have been compromised, to the police.

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