Contactless spending increases 166 per cent in 2016

Barclaycard Contactless Spending Index shows 2016 is another record-breaking year for ‘touch and go’ payments, after spending climbed by 164 per cent in 2015

  • Spending in Manchester rising faster than any other city, climbing 325 per cent, with Glasgow, Blackpool, Hull and Edinburgh also seeing huge jumps
  • Pubs and bars receiving a roaring trade with contactless surging 79 per cent and technology such as Barclaycard’s recently piloted “Pay @ Pump” self-pouring beer pump showing the demand for faster payments

Data released by Barclaycard today as part of its latest Contactless Spending Index shows that ‘touch and go’ payments have rocketed in the last 12 months, with year-on-year spending up 166 per cent*.

The news comes as industry body, the UK Cards Association (UKCA), reveals that the number of contactless credit and debits cards in the UK now tops 100 million. Demonstrating the increasing popularity of contactless – which jumped 164 per cent in 2015 – separate research from Barclaycard** also reveals that one in two (50 per cent) of Brits now pay contactlesslyat least once a month – with a fifth (21 per cent) planning to increase their usage even further next year.

The national picture

The biggest leaps in contactless spending have been seen in some of the UK’s largest cities. In Manchester, ‘touch and go’ transactions have increased more than anywhere else, with residents spending 325 per cent more this year compared to last. Also seeing strong uplifts are: Glasgow (308 per cent), Blackpool (296 per cent), Hull (287%) and Edinburgh (267 per cent).

Position City Annual spending increase*
1 Manchester 325%
2 Glasgow 308%
3 Blackpool 296%
4 Hull 287%
5 Edinburgh 267%
6 Cardiff 266%
7 Liverpool 260%
8 Newcastle 257%
9 Birmingham 248%
10 Northampton 234%

Overall, London continues to lead the way for contactless usage, with almost half (47 per cent) of all eligible transactions (those up to £30) now made contactlessly – up from three in ten in 2014.

Spending is expected to even grow further next year both in London and right across the UK, especially as the number of retailers offering contactless as a way to pay continues to increase. For instance, Sainsbury’s has recently rolled out contactless payments to its UK stores, meaning that a large rise in the supermarket sector is expected as shoppers take advantage of the faster and more convenient way to shop.

Where’s Britain spending?

Amongst all retail categories, service stations have seen the highest rise in contactless usage, with the amount spent jumping 285 per cent. Service stations now also have the highest average transaction value of all sectors at £13.32, with busy travellers enjoying the speed and ease of contactless to fill up on fuel or grab a bite to eat when on the move.

Position Category Annual spending increase
1 Service stations 285%
2 Discount stores 234%
3 Gift, card & novelty shops 180%
4 Department stores 170%
5 Supermarkets 156%
6 Postal services 121%
7 Pharmacies 108%
8 Convenience stores 98%
9 Household appliance stores 97%
10 Caterers 90%
11 Pubs and bars 79%
12 Fast food outlets 69%
13 Newsagents 63%
14 Restaurants 62%
15 Commuter transport 26%

Pubs and bars are receiving a roaring trade with contactless climbing 79 per cent in the last year – with technology suchBarclaycard’s “Pay @ Pump” self-pouring beer pump which was piloted last week showing the demand for faster payments in the service industry.

The first of its kind, the self-pouring beer pump allows drinkers to pour their own pint of ale and pay with a touch of their contactless card or device in just 60 seconds and has been designed to help bars and pubs reduce queuing time for customers buying drinks during busy periods like Christmas.

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

“Brits across the UK are increasingly catching on to the speed and ease of ‘touch and go’ payments, meaning that for many, contactless is now the preferred way to pay. No longer is contactless just reserved for the morning coffee or afternoon snack, as our data shows, Brits are turning to these payments for all types of purchases, from a supermarket top-up shop to stocking up on everyday essentials in discount stores and pharmacies.

“In 2016, the increasing popularity of mobile payments and wearables has also contributed to the surge in contactless, and as more retailers continue to accept ‘touch and go’ as a way to pay we expect this upward trend to continue well into next year.”