Contactless payments hit £2.5bn mark as spending limit rises

As the contactless payment limit in the UK rises from £20 to £30, the UK Cards Association has found that more and more consumers are ditching traditional payments, with over £2 billion being spent in the first six months of the year via contactless cards.

Contactless future

As the popularity of contactless payments increases in the United Kingdom, payment terminals across the country are being adjusted to accept NFC payments of up to £30, allowing consumers greater freedom and accessibility when paying for everyday goods and services. This then raises the question – is the UK becoming a cashless society?

The UK Cards Association, the trade body for the card payments industry in the UK, certainly thinks so.

During 2015, contactless payment figures have skyrocketed. The trade body has found that spending via a contactless card has risen from £287m per month in January 2015 to £567m in June of this year.

In total, £2.5 billion has been spent within the first six months of 2015 using a contactless device.

This figure shows that contactless payments are really picking up, as throughout 2014 only £2.32 billion was spent using a contactless cards.

contactless graph

More choice for consumers

Now that the UK has caught on to the rising trend of contactless payments, more and more shops are making the method available for their customers.

Graham Peacop, chief executive officer of the UK Cards Association has welcomed the limit increase.

‘‘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.’’

‘‘The growth in contactless payments shows people want to use contactless cards and increasing the limit gives customers even more opportunities to pay in this way,’’ continued Peacop.

The family food shop could become a lot easier with the new change. According to research from Barclaycard, Brits pay contactless most often at supermarkets, followed by restaurants and on commuter transport.

With the average food shop costing £25.17, parents and commuters will now be able to shave some time off their busy schedule using a contactless card.

For customers who are worried about the security risks posed by contactless payments, the trade body has assured apprehensive spenders that there is nothing to fear.

Contactless cards contain the same encryption technology as Chip and Pin devices. When using your card for contactless purposes, you may sometimes be asked to type in your pin, only to ensure they are the genuine card holder.

Collective decision

With more than 69 million contactless cards in circulation, the cards payments industry took it upon themselves to raise the spending limit in order to make it easier for British consumers. Some of the world’s biggest payment institutions have embraced the payment change.

‘‘Contactless is becoming the ‘new normal’ as everyday Britons embrace the speed, convenience and safety of touch-to-pay technology,’’ commented Kevin Jenkins, managing director UK and Ireland at Visa Europe.

‘‘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.’’

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