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Leanne Macardle

Freelance Contributor
Published: 16/01/2017
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The rise of contactless payments shows no signs of stopping, with new milestones being hit on a seemingly monthly basis. Well, another one has arrived, with new data from The UK Cards Association showing that a quarter of all card payments are now made via contactless means.

The figures show that a total of 325 million purchases were made using contactless debit and credit cards in November 2016, accounting for 25% of all card payments in the month. Not only that, but a record £2.9 billion was spent using the technology in a single month, a whopping increase of 184% from a year previously, when contactless spending hit £1 billion for the first time.

It marks a significant jump from October, too, with the previous month's figures showing that £2.8 billion was spent using such cards, highlighting the continued growth of the technology. Not only that, but the one-in-four milestone comes just three months after contactless reached a fifth of card transactions (in August 2016), while in November 2015, just 11% of card transactions were contactless.

Overall, there are now 101.8 million contactless debit and credit cards in circulation – up from 100 million in October – with 88% of contactless transactions made using a debit card. This is a higher proportion than for card payments overall, with 78% being debit rather than credit card payments, perhaps highlighting that people aren't spending frivolously with their credit cards despite the convenience.

"With 125 taps every second in the UK, it's clear that people are opting for contactless when they are at the till," said Richard Koch, head of Policy at The UK Cards Association. "No longer is it just for the lunchtime sandwich; instead, consumers are now using their contactless cards wherever they go – for the grocery shop, in clothes stores, and, increasingly, for the commute too."

This could explain why the average contactless transaction is steadily increasing, up from £8.03 a year ago to £8.95 in November 2016, with this form of payment not only becoming more commonplace, but used for higher value purchases, too. If you're not yet getting in on the action, speak to your card provider to see if you can be offered a contactless card (and maybe take the opportunity to compare current accounts to see if you can find a better one).


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