Contactless sheds growing pains as tenth anniversary looms

Contactless sheds growing pains as tenth anniversary looms

With the tenth anniversary of the introduction of contactless cards in the UK fast approaching, Barclaycard is forecasting that tap and pay spending will soar by more than 300% over the next four years as seven-in-ten Brits begin to use the technology more frequently for everyday purchases.

Barclaycard first introduced the technology to the UK almost a decade ago in September 2007.

New research by the acquirer indicates that almost six in 10 Brits now use contactless, with 71% saying they choose to pay with it more frequently than 12 months ago - indicating a more recent spike in popularity. This is supported by Barclaycard’s Contactless Spending Index which shows that more than half (51%) of card transactions up to the £30 spending limit are now made using the technology.

Just last month, debit cards overtook cash to become the number one payment method in the UK, according to data collected by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), with growth in contactless payments a prime driver behind the rise to dominance of the plastic card.

At the same time, Barclaycard says that retailers who accept contactless have seen their number of sales increase by an average of 30% and over half would like the spending limit raised above £30. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed would like to see a £50 limit introduced, while one-in-five opt for a £100 cap.

Such is the surge in popularity of chip at the checkout that Barclaycard says two-in-five retailers are now either solely accepting card payments or considering going entirely cash-free within the next five years

While supermarkets have embraced the technology, almost half of all UK retailers still don't accept contactless. This figure is set to be upended by 1 January 2020, as touch and go becomes mandatory for retailers who process card payments.

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 02 August, 2017, 09:01Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The first contactless cards were issued in July 2003 by London Transport (now TfL), not Barclaycard in 2007.  The intention at that time was that people would use their Oystercard to buy their newspaper from their newsagent initially using the PASS agent machines and beyond.  It never materialised but Oystercard still preceded the rest by a few years!  Credit to London Transport (as it then was) for having the vision back in the 1990s (when the project for Oystercards kicked off) even if events conspired to stop LT/TfL from fulfilling its ambition.