Barclaycard marks 10 years of contactless payments to the UK

Barclaycard, the global payments company, today marks the 10-year anniversary of launching contactless payments to the UK. The landmark moment has transformed British shopping, saving buyers and sellers millions of hours of time and making paying for goods and services quicker and easier.

Over the past decade, more than £60 billion has been spent using contactless cards and devices and today more than half (51 per cent) of eligible transactions up to the £30 limit are made using the technology. Such is the growth of ‘touch and go’ that Barclaycard research shows six in 10 Brits now choose to pay with their contactless cards and devices when the option is available and usage is projected to rise by a further 317 per cent by 2021.

New data from Barclaycard’s Contactless Spending Index also reveals that nine in 10 eligible transactions in fast food outlets (91 per cent) and pubs and bars (89 per cent) are now made using contactless when the option is available. While in supermarkets and convenience stores more than three quarters (76 per cent) of purchases up to £30 in value are made using ‘touch and go’.

In the past 12 months contactless spending has continued to grow across all sectors. Clothing stores have seen the biggest jump with a 321 per cent year on year rise, followed by Parking lots (137 per cent), department stores (126 per cent), supermarkets (124 per cent) and gift, card & novelty shops (105 per cent).

The story behind Barclaycard introducing contactless payments to the UK

The first UK contactless payments card, the ‘Barclaycard OnePulse’ was launched in September 2007. This three-in-one credit card combined Chip and PIN and contactless payment functionality alongside Oyster technology, which enabled customers to also use their cards to travel across London on the TfL network.

At the same time Barclaycard worked with retailers to update their payment terminals so that they could accept ‘touch and go’ technology. When the OnePulse card launched, contactless could be used to pay at 22,000 Oyster terminals and to buy goods and services up to £10 in value at 6,000 retailers.

The speed and ease of contactless quickly caught on with both merchants and consumers, with the technology saving an average of 7 seconds per transaction compared to Chip and PIN and 15 seconds when compared to cash.

The first retailers to accept contactless were typically coffee shops and fast food outlets including EAT and Pret a Manger where the time saved by processing ‘touch and go’ payments immediately caught on, as it allowed these merchants to serve more customers in less time and reduce queues in busy periods.

As contactless has become more popular – with Barclaycard data showing spending was up 166 per cent in 2016 – and the limit per transaction also increasing, the technology has become ubiquitous across all sectors. Throughout the UK there are now more the 106 million contactless cards which can be used to pay at almost 500,000 payment terminals. What’s more, two in five retailers (40 per cent) who accept contactless now only accept card payments or plan to become completely cash-free in the next five years****.

Tami Hargreaves, Director of Innovation and Partnerships at Barclaycard Mobile Payments commented, “Over the past decade contactless payments have transformed how we shop, travel and trade, making buying and selling quicker and easier. Today there is more choice than ever – from card to cash, mobile payments and wearables. And this is only set to increase with innovations such as our ‘Grab+Go’ invisible payments concept, which allows consumers to scan and pay with a smartphone without the need to visit a physical check-out.

“Our data shows that the uptake and usage of contactless payment technology continues to grow, with paying by ‘touch and go’ now the preferred way to pay for many Brits. We’re looking forward to continuing to innovate by introducing a number of new initiatives over the next 10 years!”

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Categories: Contactless Payments, Other

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