Customer Behaviour

People are swiping their card rather than splashing the physical cash these days as new figures reveal payments made with contactless technology have already overtaken the amount spent in the whole of 2015.

Just over £9bn was spent using contactless in the first half of the year compared to £7.75bn in the t entire of last year, the new figures from the UK Card Association (UKCA) reveals, hitting a record high.

In June, contactless made up 18 per cent of all purchases compared to just seven per cent the same time last year as Brits embraced the new way to pay.

“Contactless cards are firmly entrenched as the preferred way to pay for millions of consumers, who expect to be able to use them for everyday purchases,” said UKCA’s head of policy Richard Koch.

“We anticipate the use of contactless cards will continue to increase, particularly as charities and transport operators outside London recognise the benefits this technology can bring.”

The value which can be spent using contactless – whether by card or using a device such as an iPhone with Apple Pay – increased to £30 in September last year, increasing the number of transactions for which the payment method can be used.

Contactless payment methods via smartphones have also taken off, with Apple Pay rival Android Pay launching in May. Barclayswas also the final big bank in the UK to support customers using Apple Pay back in April, although the bank opted for its own payment app instead of supporting Android Pay.

Meanwhile, Samsung Pay is expected to launch by the end of the year in the UK, giving smartphone owners several options for making contactless payments.

Separately, figures from Barclaycard indicated the number of customers using contactless nearly tripled. The method of payment is growing fastest among the over 60s, its Contactless Spending Index found, and so-called silver spenders have now overtaken younger generations for the highest use of “tap and go”.

“The £30 spending threshold has increased the popularity of contactless payments amongst both existing and new users, both of whom are now using it more frequently and for higher amounts,” said Barclaycard’s commerical director for digital consumer payments Tami Hargreaves.

“No longer is ‘touch and go’ reserved for the morning coffee or lunchtime sandwich, instead our data shows shoppers are taking advantage of paying quickly and easily for everyday goods and services such as a few drinks after work or a basket of groceries on their way home.”

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