Contactless has shaken off its novelty tag in the UK and is surging towards the mainstream according to Worldpay, which is reporting a 150% rise in volumes over the past six months.
The payment processing company says it handled 16.69 million contactless transaction in Ocober compared to just 6.65 million in April this year. In total, Worldpay says it has processed over £1 billion payments using the technology in the last three years.
London, which recently introduced contactless payments across all major transport hubs, is setting the pace with just short of half of all contactless transactions taking place within the M25. Other cities are catching up fast however, with contactless transactions increasing by 286.6% in Bristol and 223.3% in Bournemouth between 2013 and 2014.
Supermarkets dominate the ‘tap and go’ payments market, accounting for 44% of all contactless transactions. Fast food outlets have also taken to contactless in significant number, processing a quarter (24%) of all transactions.
Dave Hobday, managing director of Worldpay UK, comments: “While this is still a relatively new market with just 18% of Brits claiming to possess a contactless card that they use regularly, it is phenomenal how quickly the technology is moving from nice to have to a must in sectors like hospitality, food, entertainment and retail.”
The latest figures from The UK Cards Association in September reveal the total number of retail purchases on cards rose by 0.4%, while it fell by 0.3% for all spending. Similarly, spending by retail value rose by 0.2% to £23.3 billion on cards, but fell by 0.6%t to £30.9 billion for all spending. These figures reinforce the trend that consumers are relying more and more on cards over cash - even in an environment where overall retail spending is slowing down.
Richard Koch, head of policy at The UK Cards Association, says: “The move from cash to card is becoming more and more evident. People are now using their card even for small purchases when they once would have used the change in their pockets. Contactless cards have helped to accelerate this change in behaviour as more consumers begin to see the benefits and simplicity of using contactless technology."