One in ten UK card transactions now contactless

Source: The UK Cards Association

Contactless card transactions now account for one in 10 card payments, the first time the milestone has been passed, the latest figures from The UK Cards Association show.

There were 120.5 million contactless card payments in October in the UK, meaning that 10.3 per cent of all card transactions were made using contactless. This has risen from just 3.7 per cent a year ago.

A total of £929.8m was spent using contactless cards in October. The average value of a contactless payment is £7.72, up from £7.35 in September when the limit for a single payment rose to £30.

Overall spending on debit and credit cards rose by 0.9 per cent in October to reach £53.2 billion. There were a total of 1.16 billion card transactions in the month.

Richard Koch, Head of Policy at The UK Cards Association, said:

"With one in 10 card payments now contactless, it’s clearly the preferred way to pay for millions of consumers. The rise in the contactless limit to £30 earlier this year means there are now even more opportunities to make a fast, easy and secure contactless payment.

  Total Spending  (£ billions) Annual growth rates for spending (%) Number of purchases (Millions)
  Oct 2015 Oct 2014 Oct 2015 Oct 2014 Oct 2015 Oct 2014
All payment cards 53.2 48.6  8.5 7.8 1,163 1,031
Of which online 11.7 10.3  14.0% 137  112
Debit cards 37.7 34.3 9.1%  8.4%  890   790
Credit cards 15.6 14.4  7.1% 6.3% 273  240

Spending by sector

  • Retail sector spending increased by £169 million to £24.8 billion in October, driven by food and drink sales.
  • Photographic studios, concerts and entertainers and cinema theatre and dance recorded substantial rises in spending in October.
  • The debit and credit card share of total retail sales was a record 78.6 per cent in October.

Comments: (5)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 January, 2016, 11:241 like 1 like

1 in 10 the preferred choice?  Really...?

It would be nice to see some richer statistics like - proportion of sub-£30 transactions that were executed contactlessly - and also remove the TfL skew...

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 January, 2016, 11:27Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

How can 10% be interpreted as "clearly the preferred way to pay"? What about the other 90% (of card payments) that aren't contactless and the xx Billions in cash??

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 04 January, 2016, 17:31Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

When we can rave about Starbucks mobile payments when only 1 out of 10 payments happened via mobile payments, why can't we say contactless is the preferred payment? Just asking...

Accelerating Mobile Wallet Adoption By Fixing What's Broken

Paul Love
Paul Love - Konsentus - Nottingham 05 January, 2016, 10:25Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

10% is a major milestone, and in some hotspots such as TFL and fast food contactless payments are now commonplace.

However we still see a wide regional variation of the use of contactless in the UK, and specifically this seems to be directly proportional to the distance from London.

In our survey last year, we found that over 70% of UK consumers still do not have a contactless card, so no chance of expressing any “preference” to use it.

As recently as September my son was issued with a new “Student Account ” debit card that was not contactless enabled - by the same bank that is spending millions on advertising Apple Pay !

Until banks get serious about universally issuing contactless enabled cards, growing from 10% will be even more of a challenge!