Spenders swap cash for contactless with £7.75bn of payments in 2015

26th February 2016


British consumers are ditching cash for contactless cards with spending on the latter tripling during 2015.


Over 140 million contactless transactions were made in December 2015, the equivalent to 52 payments every second, according to the UK Cards Association.


Nearly one in eight transactions are now made using the technology and payments are now worth £7.75 billion, three times the £2.32 billion spent this way in 2014.


The number of contactless payments hit 1.05 billion in 2015, up 228% on the previous year.


Graham Peacop, chief executive of the UK Cards Association, said: ‘The swift increase in contactless usage continued apace last year, with nearly one in eight card transactions now using the technology.’


Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said contactless payment ‘had become a firm favourite among spenders’.


‘The popularity of contactless payments has been boosted by the influx of cards that are now enabled with the function, with many providers now issuing these cards as standard. Many shoppers will also notice that more retailers are offering terminals that have a contactless option, which speeds up payment at the till,’ she said.


‘Consumers who shop on a frequent basis and make lots of small purchases are increasingly likely to use the contactless option with their cards or smartphones, or even their wristbands in some cases. This is because the limit for contactless spending was raised to £30 from September 2015, which means spenders can use contactless payment to buy most ad-hoc purchases.’


She added that people were also becoming more aware of the benefits of using their credit cards onine.


‘Paying by credit card offers protection from fraud as individual payments of £100 or more are covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act,’ she said.


‘Technology is forever advancing and providers are keen to invest in mobile use for payment methods, so we are likely to see regular increases in the number of people using their smartphones for banking and shopping in the future.’


Springall warned that consumers should ‘keep a close eye on their transactions and ensure that any credit card debts are paid before interest applies, otherwise they would be wise to take advantage of an interest-free purchase or balance transfer credit card to give them some breathing space while they tackle their debts’.

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