Contactless transactions increased 135% in volume last year alone

Man's hand holding iPhone and paying at Underground TfL contactless terminal using Apple Pay and Visa

Last week, we published an article considering whether it’s time to start believing reports that predict the death of cash in the near future.

We thought it would be interesting to follow up that piece with some recent findings from Barclaycard. Research from Barclaycard shows that contactless transactions increased by 164% in value and 135% in volume last year alone compared with 2014.

One key reason for this has obviously been the increased spending limit, from £20 to £30. Another has been the highly successful integration of the technology into London’s public transit network. NFC payments now make up a quarter of all pay-as-you go transactions on TfL network and according to Barclaycard, these payments on the tube, bus, and rail network have risen in number by a massive 532% since launch. This year’s rollout of Black Cabs that have to accept contactless payments will also no doubt give it a boost.

But transport hasn’t been the only success story. Businesses enjoyed a significant boost too, with pharmacies, pubs & bars and service stations all seeing triple-digit year-on-year increases.

Barclaycard’s findings also have some feedback from consumers and commuters that testify to the convenience of NFC technology.


20% increase in transaction volume in no time

It’s data reveals transaction volumes across the UK increased more than 20% – from just under 5 million to more than 6 million – between January and February alone.

In the same time period, the value of transactions increased even faster, from £40.57m to £50.01m, marking a 23% increase.

The increase of the spending limit has finally begun to trickle down as the value of individual transactions has increased, ever so slightly from £8.13 to £8.32.

The supermarket industry is enjoying the contactless technology uptake more than anyone else as the sector topped both the volume and overall value of contactless payments in February, followed by ‘eat-in’ restaurants, commuter transport, fast-food restaurants, pubs and bars.

TfL was a major beneficiary too – top of the pile by volume of payments – with £3.6m and a 12% increase.


City breakdown

Unsurprisingly, London with its 8.5 million people, solid contactless infrastructure and great shopping destinations had the largest overall number of transactions in February with 2.96 million. It also came first for the overall value of transactions (£22.26m ) and percentage of people actively using contactless (15.6%).

However, it came bottom for average transaction value with just £7.52 being spent every time.

Other major cities warming to contactless in February were Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Oxford.

“These are large, affluent and technologically savvy parts of the UK with fast connection speeds – fertile ground for new payment channels,” Barclaycard said.

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