Barclaycard, ‘the rise of contactless shows no sign of abating’

Barclaycard_contactlessRecent research from Barclaycard shows that contactless transactions increased by a whopping 164% in value and 135% in volume last year alone compared with 2014.

Contactless received a boost with a recent transaction limit increase to £30 (from £20), bringing more everyday purchases under its umbrella. The introduction of contactless to London buses and the tube has also helped it catch on. Touch-and-go’ payments on the tube, bus, and rail network have swelled in number by a massive 532% since launch, reports Barclaycard.

Other categories of business enjoyed a significant boost too, with pharmacies, pubs & bars and service stations all seeing triple-digit year-on-year increases. “Contactless is just very easy,” said Philip Brace, a supermarket shopper in South East London. “The shop assistant scans your items and when they’re ready you just place your card on the terminal. It saves a little bit of time and means you don’t have to free both hands to enter your PIN and cover it.

In 2016, the rise of contactless shows no sign of abating. The latest data from Barclaycard reveals transaction volumes across the UK increased more than 20% – from just under 5 million to more than 6 million – between January and February alone.

The value of transactions rose even faster, from £40.57m to £50.01m in the same timeframe, a rise of 23.2% And the average value of each transaction also increased slightly, from £8.13 to £8.32, which goes to show Brits are taking advantage of the new upper limit.

By sector, the supermarket industry topped both the volume and overall value of contactless payments in February, followed by ‘eat-in’ restaurants, commuter transport, fast-food restaurants and drinking spots such as pubs and bars.

Contactless has been widely adopted by a range of retail businesses because it helps them do more business, more efficiently, with fast, low-value transactions cutting time in queues waiting to get served. TfL was a major beneficiary too – top of the pile by volume of payments – with £3.6m and a 12% increase.

By city, London with its big population and huge retail clusters had the largest overall number of transactions in February with 2.96 million. It also came first for the overall value of transactions (£22.26m ) and percentage of people actively using contactless (15.6%).

But it came last in average transaction values at just £7.52, perhaps reflecting how accustomed Londoners are becoming to using contactless for everyday low-cost purchases.

Other major cities warming to contactless in February were Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Oxford. These are large, affluent and technologically savvy parts of the UK with fast connection speeds – fertile ground for new payment channels.

But playing catch-up were cities with higher levels of unemployment, low card usage rates and a dominant cash economy such as Blackpool – in last place for overall volumes and value, Hull and, perhaps more surprisingly, Liverpool.

With its advantages of speedy service and heightened transactional security, contactless appears to be making major inroads into the British payments landscape. Given its warm reception up and down the country, it won’t come as a surprise to see adoption rates continue to increase in months and years to come.

You can hear more from Barclaycard on this topic when Tami Hargreaves, Director of Digital Consumer Payments, Barclaycard delivers her keynote speech, “From wearables to wallets: a successful strategy through customer engagement” at this years Contactless Intelligence Conference on the 26th April, in London.

Tickets are still available by following this link.

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Categories: Contactless Payments

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