Worldpay reports surge in contactless transactions

Source: Worldpay

Brits have gone contactless crazy according to data from Worldpay, which today revealed that it has processed over £2 billion of contactless payments since January 2012.

This surge is even more incredible as it was only in October 2014 that the company reached the £1 billion milestone.

Data from the UK’s leading payment processing company shows the number of contactless transactions rose by more than 49% in the last six months (16.33 million contactless transactions processed in November 2014 versus 24.4 million in April 2015). This rapid growth means total transaction volumes using contactless have increased by 964% in the last two years.

London is still the contactless capital of the UK, accounting for 38% of all transactions with the South East some way behind at 12%. Other regions are catching up however with East Anglia accounting for 10% of contactless transactions and South Central England at 9%.

Supermarkets and other food retailers have been leading the charge in the adoption of contactless with 46% of all contactless transactions now taking place in their stores. The hospitality sector isn’t far behind with 38% taking place in bars, coffee shops and takeaways. The rest of the retail sector has a long way to go, however, accounting for just 13% of contactless transactions across the UK.

While many businesses have recognised the potential of tap and go, many are still clamouring to get on board with Worldpay helping over 380 UK retailers to take contactless payments in the last three years. Worldpay is also upgrading 75,000 terminals at existing customers to help them get ready for the increase to £30 in the spending limit for contactless cards, a move that comes into force in September.

The rapid rise of contactless is supported by the growth in card payments in the UK. Data issued last week by the Payments Council showed that July 2014 was the first time that non-cash payments exceeded those made with cash (by value).

Dave Hobday, UK Managing Director of Worldpay, said: “Consumers demand convenience and contactless offers this beyond any other payment method. It makes paying for your morning coffee or a well-deserved glass of wine after work faster than ever before, while helping businesses cut queues at peak times.

“Once seen as a ‘nice to have’, contactless is now an essential payment method for increasing numbers of businesses in the retail, hospitality and entertainment sectors. The slow movers have seen all the benefits it brings their competitors and now fear missing out on vital sales to their savvier, technologically advanced rivals.”

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 28 May, 2015, 15:40Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Acceptance rises in other sectors would be experienced if they raised the floorlimit for contactless acceptance.  At the moment it is set too low for most merchants to use sensibly.  There is also a factor of consumer education to consider - believe it or not - a lot of cardholders haven't even realised they had contactless cards until relatively recently.

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith - Riskskill - Reading 29 May, 2015, 08:53Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Contactless, at least in the UK and Europe, was seen as a way of penetrating lower ticket value items, but the desire seems to be to push the limit ever up. Why would issuers want to simply cannabalise their existing card volumes with contactless? The whole challenge is to increase the size of the pie in terms of card usage, displace other payment methods first, make top of card etc. etc. Agree that education is critical here, for both merchants and consumers. Ignorance and misunderstanding are still common. With scheme mandates for contactless-enabled devices we should see an improved national picture on contactless and not one skewed to the south east and especially not one skewed by Transport for London.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 12 June, 2015, 13:07Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

If merchants were able to accept contactless High Value payments (with a PIN) as they can in the rest of Europe, the floorlimit issue goes away, and the skew to supermarkets and bars follows suit. Maybe mobile phone users will get the service they deserve now that ApplePay is on the scene - to be followed by Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Zapp.