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Contactless spend in the UK trebles as technology steps into the mainstream

06 February 2015  |  14431 views  |  5 mastercard contactless payment 1

Spending on contactless cards more than trebled over the last year to reach a record £2.32 billion in 2014, according to data published by The UK Cards Association.

The new figures reveal a year of major growth in contactless usage, with the total spend in 2014 more than double that of all the previous six years combined. Year-on-year, annual spending rose by 255 per cent from £653.4 million in 2013.

UK consumers used their contactless cards 319.2 million times last year, with 10 contactless transactions taking place every second. The total number of contactless transactions jumped from 100.4 million in 2013.

The surge in contactless transactions has coincided with moves by Transport for London to use the technology for paying transit fares across the capital. Since the launch in September 2014, 41 million journeys have been made using contactless bank cards, with around 415,000 journeys now made every day.

With 58 million contactless cards in circulation in the UK, instances of fraud are also rare, with the latest figures showing losses of £51,000 over the first six months of 2014 - just 0.007 per cent of contactless card spending.

With card use soaring and fraud at manageable levels, the Association says the spending limit on contactless cards is set to be increased to £30 from the current £20 ceiling from September 2015.
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Comments: (5)

Dave Sanderson
Dave Sanderson - YBS Group - Bradford/Leeds - UK | 06 February, 2015, 11:11

Hopefully merchants outside of the capital will recognise this significant increase and start to support contactless payments. I'm still amazed that many of the major supermarkets still don't support contactless at their self service "express" tills.

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Richard Sanders
Richard Sanders - Hermosa Consulting - Southend on Sea | 06 February, 2015, 11:53

I agree Dave. The supermarkets did not initially accept contactless but could also have contactless potentially on the 'basket only' lines especially if the contactless limit was raised and this would also facilitate greater usage. It would also be useful to see the usage broken down by areas of the UK and spend categories.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 06 February, 2015, 13:47

Not sure how confident I would be on these numbers. The UKCA states that the average transaction size is £8.26, but when you multiply it by 319.2million, you get £2.6 billion, far greater than the published "...record £2.32 billion in 2014". Not sure what's going on there?

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Matt Scott
Matt Scott - RenovITe Technologies Inc - London | 06 February, 2015, 16:26

It's been a slow burner but it looks like it's finally getting traction - hopefully wider adoption of HCE will see a similar trend for Mobile Contact-less.

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Bala Nagaraj
Bala Nagaraj - main incubator - Frankfurt | 09 February, 2015, 10:13

Great to see the growth in contactless payments in the UK.

We in Germany are laggards in comparision. Check this link out.

http://www.theneweconomy.com/technology/contactless-payment-methods-face-resistance-from-germany

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