How we pay in the UK: Contactless payments hit £25bn in 2016, up 222% from 2015

The UK Cards Association has released new figures that show contactless spending has hit £25bn in 2016, up 222% from the previous year. There were a staggering 14.8 billion card transactions recorded in 2016, which is equal to 40.5 million per day and 469 transactions per second.

The majority of payments were recorded as debit cards transactions, which accounted for £461bn of spending in 2016. The sub-sector with the highest spending was on food and drink, which accounted for £114bn of transactions during the year.

Last November, contactless spending hit a record £1bn in a single month for the time. In January, the UK Cards Association reported that contactless payments made up a fourth of all card transactions in the UK. Richard Koch, Head of Policy at The UK Cards Association, said “with 125 taps every second in the UK, it’s clear that people are opting for contactless when they are at the till.” in January.

And in 2015, contactless was slowly adapting into consumer’s spending habits, with recorded transactions of £7.75bn, and total spending equaling £620bn. In 2016, contactless spending hit 25bn, with total card spending hitting £647bn, showing an astounding 222% increase from the previous year.

It seems that UK shoppers are happy to adapt to the ease of tap and go spendings. It is said that contactless spending is seven seconds quicker than traditional card payments, where consumers have to input their PIN details and confirm the transaction.

“Cards are the preferred way to pay for millions of consumers and underpin the retail economy.” Said Graham Peacop, Chief Executive of The UK Cards Association.

“Contactless cards are increasingly becoming the payment method of choice for everyday, low-value purchases, with a quarter of card payments now contactless.”

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