Nearly half of UK transactions now contactless

Nearly half of UK transactions now contactless

The UK's love affair with contactless payments continues to flourish, with almost one in two transactions now tap and pay, according to Mastercard figures.

There has been a 95% increase in contactless transaction in the year to date, with the technology now representing 46% of all transactions every month, says Mastercard.

This puts the UK at the forefront of the tap and pay revolution, with Transport for London cited as a major driving force for adoption.

Now more than a decade old, the technology is also shedding its reputation as as security problem. Long gone are the days when wary users covered their wallets in tin foil, with most people now believing contactless is at least as safe as traditional payment methods.

In fact, a recent survey from GoCompare found that nearly half of Brits now want the contactless limit increased from £30 to at least £50.

"The UK is a global leader in its use of contactless. The technology has fast become synonymous with our everyday payments. It is faster and easier to use than cash and yet it affords more security. As such the adoption and trust in contactless can only increase from here,” says Mark Barnett, president, Mastercard in the UK.

Comments: (8)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 September, 2018, 09:141 like 1 like

If and when the UK adopts "tap & PIN" - a standard function in Asia-Pacific as well as in such countries as Russia - contact interface will become obsolete.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 September, 2018, 09:42Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I'm still waiting for my contactless Matercard credit card from Tesco .......

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 17 September, 2018, 18:48Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Half of what UK transactions? All transactions? - Impossible. All instore transactions? Unlikely since Visa has a higher share of card transactions instore and how can MasterCard know those numbers? All instore Mastercard transactions? Maybe possible.  

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 September, 2018, 04:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hi - Do you not think that the British public would see a resolution to BREXIT as a priority? From a consumer's convenience point of view, leveraging technology makes sense. Wow, contactless. Doesn't the average perosn need a job, wages and savings in order to use his/her card?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 September, 2018, 09:52Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Tap and PIN seemed standard in Belgium and Holland when I visted over the summer - I've not found out why it doesn't work in the UK yet.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 September, 2018, 09:56Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

There is a surprising lack of consistency. Also, at some UK petrol stations certain non-UK cards can be used for T&P.

Nick Collin
Nick Collin - Collin Consulting Ltd - London 18 September, 2018, 10:12Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

@ Ketharaman.  According to UK Finance, contactless transactions accounted for 32% of all card transactions in March 2017 - the latest stats I can find on the web.  So a figure of 46% of all card transactions doesn't sound unreasonable given a 95% growth in volumes since last year.  I agree with you that this probably just applies to MasterCard card transactions but presumably the Visa figures are similar.  Whatever, after a slow start, this is a remarkable success story which my own anecdotal experience as a London resident tends to confirm.  The really amazing change is a cultural one - people now use cards, usually contactless, to pay for very low value items such as a pint of beer or a sandwich and merchants accept that - this would be unthinkable 10 years ago.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 18 September, 2018, 15:02Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

@Nick Collin: TY for your comment and figures. Yes, 95% growth over 32% share in 2017 does make it highly plausible that 50% of all instore card transactions could be contactless by now. As an ex-London resident, I totally agree that it's a remarkable success story. I remember the Krispy Kreme outlet in Canary Wharf, which was the only outlet that accepted contactless cards in 2007-8. I also remember a false start in circa 2004, when Finextra reported a pilot contactless project by Jersey City-New York Ferry. On my next trip to the US, I visited the ferry terminal just to see how contactless worked. The ticket selling attendant out there didn't have a clue of what I was talking about when I asked him for a demo of contactless payment! Contactless has come a long way since then.

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