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Contactless payments soar as limit increase takes effect

Contactless payments soar as limit increase takes effect

The lifting of the limit on contactless payments to £100 in the UK has led to a surge in tap-and-pay transactions, as consumers use the touchless checkout method to pay for higher value items.

December 2021 card spending data from UK Finance reveals that the average amount spent per contactless card transaction rose by almost 30 per cent following the contactless spending limit increasing from £45 to £100 in October last year.

In September, prior to the contactless limit increase, the average spend per contactless payment was £11.86, which increased to £15.30 in December.

The increased limit came into effect on 15 October, but it took a period of time for retailers and payment providers to update their systems and offer the new £100 limit, which means the increase in the average payment took time to show up.

For 2021 as a whole, the card spending data shows a total of 13.1 billion contactless payments were made in the year - equivalent to 415 transactions every second. This is up 36 per cent compared with 2020 and 52 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

The total value of contactless transactions in 2021 also increased, reaching £165.9 billion. This is 46 per cent higher than in 2020 and 106 per cent more than 2019.

The proportion of card payments that were contactless continued to increase in December 2021 and reached its highest recorded level, accounting for 69 per cent of all debit card transactions and 56 per cent of all credit card transactions.

Lee Hopley, director of economic insight and research at UK Finance, says: "These figures show the continued popularity of contactless payments, as well as the fact people are making higher value payments. From October last year the new £100 limit was rolled out and it gives customers greater choice about how they pay for things like their weekly shop or a tank of fuel."

Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 March, 2022, 09:49Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes Why not increase the limit even more incl the weekly accumulated limit. Then people need not verify with Pin ever! The main issue with chip and pin was about getting rid of fraud with stolen cards. The limit hike will bring back thst kind of fraud again. Also with the intro of e comm strong customer auth mandate fraudsters need to move to stolen cards.
A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 March, 2022, 10:55Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This is a non story. Its the same transaction/card its just that you can tap now for purchases between £45-£100 so of course more people will have. The real question is whether the retailer has to pay more for their customer to 'tap' rather than entering a PIN and also, as per the first coment, whether fraud increases because the increase has created a place for fraud to migrate to.