News & Views - Savantor

The growth of contactless

Monday, 09 May 2016
In under a year spending on contactless cards has trebled in value in the UK, according to the latest figures released by the UK Cards Association. In March, contactless payments totalled £1.508 billion, up from £0.5 billion in May last year. There is now a total of 86.5 million contactless cards in circulation in the UK, with one in seven of all card transactions now contactless, compared to one in 16 a year ago. This trend is supported by data produced by Visa Europe for the use of contactless across Europe, where one in five face-to-face transactions are now contactless. The card scheme says that it has processed three billion contactless payments in Europe in the last year, which is nearly triple the amount in the previous 12 months. Poland, Spain and the UK are the countries in Europe where the use of contactless is most prevalent, according to the figures from Visa Europe. British usage grew by 300% from 51 million transactions in April 2015 to 153 million in April 2016. There are a number of factors which have encouraged this rise in the UK. The adoption of contactless as a means of payment by Transport for London has certainly played a major role in causing the growth spurt, aided by the introduction of mobile payment technology such as Apple Pay and the increase of the contactless limit to £30. The Co-op supermarket has predicted that contactless transactions will outstrip the use of cash within the next ten years, after experiencing a sharp rise in customers using contactless to pay at the till, even though almost two thirds (65%) of all transactions in its stores are currently paid for with cash. Perhaps more surprisingly, according to Barclaycard, Britons over the age of 60 are the fastest growing group of people taking to contactless card payments, with spending in this age group more than doubling in the last year. The Barclaycard data indicates that the number of over-60's using contactless payments increased by 116% over the last 12 months, whereas previously this segment of the population seemed to be more reticent about using this payment method. There continues to be speculation about the role and future of cash, with a variety of different views and opinions held and expressed about its longevity as a payment method. However, one thing that is certain is the importance that contactless now has a means of payment and that it unquestionably has a place in the payment landscape of tomorrow.
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