UK contactless card use skyrockets

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Spending by British consumers on their contactless cards has increased more than five-fold in the last 12 months, according to MasterCard’s UK spending data.

Cardholders have driven 560% year-on-year growth in the value of transactions, up from a

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UK contactless card use skyrockets

373% increase in the year to July 2014, showing that the adoption of contactless payments is continuing to accelerate.

The UK ‘tap & go’ limit for transactions on all contactless cards will increase from £20 to £30 on September 1st in an industry-wide initiative. As such, MasterCard expects to see further growth in the adoption of contactless payments by its cardholders. Further growth will also be encouraged with mobile contactless payments, which will allow values over £30 to be made.

The number of contactless card transactions made with MasterCard have already quadrupled since last summer (457%).

At the start of 2012, the year in which the limit was raised to £20, the average contactless purchase by cardholders was for £4.52. In July this year that had increased to £7.29, a good indication of the need to raise the contactless limit to £30.

Data released by Barclaycard today shows that contactless spending has more than trebled in the last 12 months.

Top-line figures include:

  • Year-on-year contactless spending has leapt 150% by value and 134% by volume
  • Almost 6 in 10 (57%) of Brits expect to increase contactless usage now that the contactless limit has risen from £20 to £30 per transaction
  • Regionally, Leeds is seeing the largest growth in contactless spending, higher than any other UK city
  • Women are catching up with men, with 45% of transactions now made by females compared to 36% at the end of 2014

London continues to lead the way for contactless penetration with 40% of eligible transactions made contactlessly, up from three in ten in 2014. This continued rise is largely accounted for by the increase in popularity of contactless travel on London’s tubes, trains and buses.

“The pace of growth we are seeing in contactless is getting ever faster as we rely less and less on cash,” says Mark Barnett, President of MasterCard UK & Ireland.

“Consumers enjoy the speed and convenience of tapping to pay. We expect this upward trend to persist with consumers continuing to migrate to contactless card payments and increasingly to mobile payments, as we work with partners such as Apple to enable more convenient ways to pay.”

Overall levels of fraud on contactless cards remain very low, with just £153,000 of losses during 2014 compared with total spending of £2.32bn, according to UK Cards Association figures. This represents just 0.7p in every £100 spent on contactless, one of the lowest fraud rates for any kind of payment.

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