It’s official, contactless payments went mainstream in 2015

corner of a Visa contactless card

In news that will not be at all surprising, contactless spending went mainstream in 2015 with £7.75 billion being spent using contactless cards, compared to £2.32 billion in 2014, according to new research from the UK Cards Association (UKCA).

Contactless card spending actually outpaced the actual growth of contactless cards reflecting the increase in the payment limit to £30 and the growth of contactless transport ticketing. By the end of 2015, 49% of all cards issued in the UK had contactless capabilities, said UKCA. Overall, card payments have been going from strength to strength.


Mobile taking off

The rise of contactless hasn’t only been apportioned to cards, with mobile slowly starting to get in on the act. The likes of Samsung Pay and Android Pay are entering European countries faster than an interrailing university graduate. In fact, the number of consumers making contactless payments on their phones will hit 148 million this year, driven by adoption of Apple and Samsung’s mobile wallets.

Another way mobile is taking off is within the POS arena. The retail industry saw an increasing number of businesses begin to use mobile point-of-sale devices, giving them scope to adapt the way they serve customers and accept payments.

“With the amount spent using contactless cards almost trebling between 2014 and 2015 and the payment limit increasing to £30, it is clear 2015 was the year contactless went mainstream. Whether buying a sandwich on the go, or paying for a round of drinks or a tube journey, contactless has become the default way people choose to pay for every day shopping,” said Graham Peacop, Chief Executive of The UK Cards Association.


Businesses see the value of cards

In 2015 there were over one million businesses that accepted card payments meaning consumers can pay with cards in 1.2 individual outlets in the UK.

Peacop added that many retailers have begun to move towards e-commerce and adopting more innovative ways of accepting payments. This coincides consumers being willing to use contactless cards to make lower-value payments and enforces the idea that payment cards will continue to play a central role in the future.

Internet payments on the rise

In 2015, online card payments shot up by 20% compared to 2014, to £210 billion from £175 billion. By the end of 2015 half of online spending took place on tablets and smartphones, up from 37 per cent in 2014. Figures like these are one of the reasons why small businesses believe that mobiles and tablets are they key to their growth, particularly in the very near future.


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