Record nine in 10 UK card transactions contactless last year

On average, people spent £15.13 last year when making a contactless transaction, Barclays found

FILE PHOTO: A customer pays with a contactless credit card at a store in Paris, France, April 11, 2016.  REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo
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Just over nine in 10 (91.2 per cent) of all card transactions made last year were contactless when it was available as an option, data from Barclays shows.

The 91.2 per cent was a record, says the bank, after 85.6 per cent of eligible card transactions using contactless technology were made in 2021.

Transactions that were eligible to be contactless were those made face-to-face or in-store, to the value of the contactless card limit, which is £100 ($120).

“Silver spenders” are helping to drive up contactless use. Barclays said the fastest growth in contactless use was among the over-65 age group.

In 2022, 82.6 per cent of cardholders aged over 65 were making contactless payments, up from 78.8 per cent in 2021, Barclays says.

Across all age groups, contactless users made an average of 220 “tap and go” transactions last year, up from about 180 in 2021.

On average, people spent £15.13 last year when making a contactless transaction.

The bank analysed consumer card spending data from its debit and credit card transactions to make the findings.

Across its issuing and acquiring businesses, Barclays said it saw nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions.

Hotels, bars, pubs, clubs, the electronics sector and clothing retailers were among the sectors that recorded particularly big jumps in contactless spending in 2022, compared with 2021, Barclays found.

As UK shoppers rushed to complete their Christmas shopping last year, December 23 was the busiest day for contactless payments, with the total value being 92.1 per cent higher than the daily average during 2022.

“The popularity of contactless payments took another leap forwards last year," said Adam Lishman, head of consumer products at Barclays.

“The higher £100 limit, introduced at the end of 2021, really made its mark as shoppers flooded back to high streets following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, leading to a surge in transactions.

"Brits are also becoming more comfortable making high-value contactless payments from their mobile, with these transactions accounting for an even greater share of total contactless spend.”

The findings were released as Nationwide Building Society said the value of credit card payments and debt repayments was 13 per cent higher in January compared with 12 months ago.

The value of spending on airline travel by Nationwide’s members jumped by 68 per cent compared with January 2022, while holiday spending increased by 43 per cent over the same period.

Overall, the value of non-essential spending fell by 11 per cent in January from December, while spending on essentials, such as household bills, transport and supermarket shopping, increased by 2 per cent month on month, Nationwide said.

Its monthly spending report analysed nearly 215 million debit and credit card, and direct debit, transactions made by the society’s members in January 2023.

“Despite worries, the nation is preparing for warmer weather," said Mark Nalder, payments strategy and performance director at Nationwide Building Society.

"And one area of non-essential spending where there has been a significant uptick in January is holidays and travel, as people look to plan ahead and book some time away from home during this year."

Updated: February 17, 2023, 12:01 AM