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UK Contactless Spending up 2.6 times in 2015

Barclaycard data shows new £30 contactless spending limit has driven a significant increase in usage of ‘touch and go’ payments

Thu Jan 21 09:45:00 EST 2016

  • Contactless spend leapt 164 per cent by value and 135 per cent by volume in 2015
  • Strong growth follows year-on-year spending also doubling in 2014
  • Barclaycard customers now make more contactless transactions in a single calendar month than were made in the whole of 2013
  • Average contactless transaction value up 26 per cent to £8.65 following contactless payment limit rising to £30 in September 2015
  • More than a quarter of active Barclaycard customers use contactless every month

The number of ‘touch and go’ contactless transactions made by Barclaycard’s UK customers more than trebled in 2015*, thanks in part to the raising of the spending cap to £30, new data shows. The news comes as industry body, UKCA, reveals that monthly contactless spend passed the £1 billion milestone for the first time in November.

Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all credit and debit card transactions in the UK, saw the value of spending using contactless technology soar 164 per cent compared to 2014 figures and volume also shoot-up 135 per cent, as consumers increasingly enjoy the speed and ease of ‘touch and go’ payments.

Contactless usage was given a boost in September last year when the maximum transaction value increased from £20 to £30, allowing shoppers to purchase goods and services with just a touch of their card or contactless device on a payment reader. As well as opening-up new retail sectors to the technology, the new upper limit means that many every day purchases - such as the average cost of basket of groceries at £25** - can be covered in a single payment.

In addition, the average amount Barclaycard customers spend in each contactless transaction has increased 26 per cent, to £8.65 , following the introduction of the £30 limit with more than a quarter (27 per cent) of active Barclaycard customers*** now using contactless each month.

The national picture

Overall, London continues to lead the way for contactless usage, with more than four in 10 (41 per cent) of all transactions of £20 and under now being made with contactless. Usage in the capital city is largely accounted for by the increase in popularity of contactless travel on London’s tubes, trains and buses. Yet with contactless ticketing being looked at by other cities across the UK, it may not be long before the rest of the country catches up.

City

Contactless usage****

London

41%

Cambridge

26%

Northampton

24%

Bristol

23%

Southampton

23%

Oxford

23%

Leeds

22%

Birmingham

21%

Liverpool

20%

Cardiff

20%

The growth in contactless usage by Barclaycard customers underlines its leading role in contactless technology, having introduced it into the UK in 2007 and remaining at the forefront of its continued rollout to consumers and retailers, such as Waitrose, ever since.

In June 2016 Barclaycard will celebrate its 50th anniversary, marking fifty years of allowing consumers and businesses to make and take payments simply and easily. From introducing the first credit card to the UK in 1966, to launching Chip & PIN and wearables – to providing the technology to allow commuters to pay contactlessly for travel on London’s tubes, trains and buses – Barclaycard has a played an integral role in developing many new payment innovations which have changed the way we shop for goods and services.

Last week Barclaycard became the first financial services brand to allow customers to make contactless payments on their Android phone, by expanding the functionality of its mobile app to include the ability make payments for up to £100 without the need to use a card. Barclaycard customers using this new feature can now make contactless payments for transactions up to £30, and for the first time, can also make high-value contactless payments of up to £100 by entering their PIN on their mobile device.

As part of this roll-out of mobile contactless payments, Barclaycard also introduced an ‘instant card replacement’ feature to its Android app, enabling customers to have a lost or stolen card replaced immediately on their mobile phone. Customers simply report their card as lost, stolen or damaged by calling the contact centre for free from the Barclaycard app and the virtual replacement card will be instantly downloaded for immediate use. A plastic card replacement will then follow in the post.

Tami Hargreaves, Commercial Director, Digital Consumer Payments at Barclaycard, said:

“Every second counts for today’s busy shopper and as our data shows, ‘touch and go’ payments are now the norm for an increasing number of everyday purchases. Whether it’s grabbing a coffee on the way to work - or stocking up on groceries on the way home – the speed and ease of contactless means it’s now the preferred way to pay for shoppers across the country. As the old adage goes – ‘time is money’ and we expect contactless payments to continue to break new records throughout 2016.”

* Barclaycard data comparing 2014 to 2015 contactless spending. 2.6 times annual spending increase is calculated as follows: (2015 total Spend figure – 2014 total Spend, divided by 2014 Spend).
** UKCA Industry contactless MI for November 2015
*** The number of Barclaycard customers who made a contactless transaction in November 2015
**** For contactless transactions of £20 and under

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