contactless payment

Contactless payments up nearly 50 per cent in 2022, Barclays says

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The value of contactless payments in the UK rose by nearly 50 per cent last year, with users making an average of 220 ‘touch and go’ transactions during 2022, Barclays has reported.

In new figures, the bank found that users spent around £3,327 per person, while a record 91.2 per cent of all eligible transactions were made using the technology. In 2021, the spending limit for contactless payments in the UK rose to £100 from £45 as consumers were encouraged to use contactless in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Contactless payments have been soaring in popularity in recent years to the detriment of cash, but figures released last year showed that the number of cash payments plummeted even faster in 2021.

Barclays said that Northern Ireland and Scotland are the fastest growing regions for contactless usage.

While all sectors saw an increase in the total value of contactless transactions, spending more than doubled in the hotels, resorts & accommodation category. There was also robust growth in electronics, bars, pubs & clubs, restaurants and clothing.

Rapid growth was also found in the value of mobile wallet contactless payments over the £100 card limit. These payments accounted for 4.1 per cent of the total value of all contactless transactions last year, compared to 3 per cent the previous year.

As UK shoppers rushed to complete their festive purchases, Friday 23 December was the busiest day for contactless shopping – the total value was 92.1 per cent higher than the daily average during 2022.

For the second year running, the fastest growth in contactless usage came from the over-65s, where the percentage of contactless users rose by 3.8 per cent.

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

“While check-out-free shopping is gradually becoming more prominent, thanks to improvements in mobile technology, in the short term it’s hard to see another payment method competing with contactless when it comes to both speed and ease.”

A recent report found that if the current trend of declining cash usage in the UK continues, the country could become an entirely cashless society by 2026.

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