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Brits spent £2.5bn with contactless cards in first half of 2015

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The limit for contactless sales was previously set at £20 for security reasons, but the additional £10 is set to provide the UK’s shoppers with more flexibility when they’re making purchases. Indeed, the average food shop is valued at around £25, while card spends in cinemas, pubs and gift shops are generally under £30 too.

Meanwhile, part of the protection process enforced means users will sometimes be asked to enter their PIN to verify it’s their card.

It comes following the rising popularity of using contactless cards, while that trend has been bolstered with the arrival of Apple Pay, Barclays’ Bpay and revelation of Samsung Pay – a medley of wearable and mobile solutions.

According to the UK Cards Association, Brits spent more than £2.5bn with their contactless cards in the first six months of this year. Meanwhile, the amount spent over the period grew significantly between January and June from £287m to £567m.

The trade body highlighted that the sum spent in the first half of 2015 was more than the £2.32m spent via contactless payments for the whole of 2014.

Graham Peacop, CEO of The UK Cards Association, said: “Contactless payments are fast, easy and secure. With more contactless cards in wallets than ever before and a growing number of retailers accepting contactless payments, we have seen a huge rise in the number of payments being made.”

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More than 69m contactless cards are in circulation – 9.3m of which were issued to consumers between January and June 2015. In a bid to increase the adoption, the UK Cards Association noted that fraud is low and accounts for under one penny for every £100 spent.

Kevin Jenkins, MD of UK & Ireland at Visa Europe, said: “Contactless is becoming the ‘new normal’ as everyday Britons embrace the speed, convenience and safety of touch-to-pay technology. We’ve seen unprecedented growth in this area, with the number of Visa contactless transactions more than trebling in the past year in the UK.

“Today’s threshold increase to £30 gives consumers all the benefits of contactless across a broader range of their daily activities, and we expect to see this momentum continue to build as more people adopt mobile and wearable payment technology.”

Jason Richelson, CEO of ShopKeep, the iPad payments system which secured a $60m investment to expand from the US to the UK, offered a small business perspective.

“While adopting the very latest electronic payment systems might have been seen as a luxury, recent developments have rendered them not only a valuable tool for all customer facing businesses, but integral to the success of the forward-thinking SME,” he said.

“It’s crucial that small business owners have a strategy in place that will allow them to effectively adapt to this change in spending habits. If this is not done, SMEs will find themselves struggling to keep up with changing consumer habits and left behind. Contactless is here to stay.”

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