UK embraces contactless payments after 2021's limit rise to £100
British consumers have embraced making contactless payments. After increasing the transaction limit from £30 to £100 in mid-2021, the total value of all contactless payments jumped 49.7% last year, according to new data from Barclays.
While all sectors saw an increase in the total value of contactless transactions, spending jumped 82.7% on clothing, with the higher spend limit clearly making an impact here.
Boosted by the return to high street shopping following the easing of all coronavirus restrictions, a record 91.2% of all eligible card transactions were made using contactless payments last year “a sign that consumers and businesses are continuing to shift to next-generation technology when buying and selling”.
The average contactless user made 220 ‘touch and go’ payments last year, up from 180 in 2021, with the average value per transaction rising 18.5%. Even when comparing 2022 against the contactless transactions made at the end of 2021, after the higher £100 limit had been introduced, transaction values were still 5.3% up on 2021’s figures.
There was also rapid growth in the value of mobile wallet contactless payments over the £100 card limit. These payments accounted for 4.1% of the total value of all contactless transactions last year, compared to 3% the previous year.
As UK shoppers rushed to complete their festive purchases, Friday 23 December was the busiest day for contactless shopping – the total value was 92.1% higher than the daily average during 2022.
Meanwhile, for the second year running, the fastest growth in contactless usage came from the over-65s, where the percentage of contactless users rose by 3.8%. Across the UK, the regions with the largest increase in the share of contactless users were Northern Ireland (4.9%), Scotland (4.8%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (2.8%).
Adam Lishman, Head of Consumer Products at Barclays, said: “The popularity of contactless payments took another leap forwards last year. [Britons] are also becoming more comfortable making high-value contactless payments from their mobile, with these transactions accounting for an even greater share of total contactless spend.
“While checkout-free shopping is gradually becoming more prominent, thanks to improvements in mobile technology, in the short term it’s hard to see another payment method competing with contactless when it comes to both speed and ease.”
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