UK sees 40% rise in contactless transaction values in 2021

UK shopper making contactless transaction with card on terminal
LOW-TOUCH EXPERIENCE: 91.% of all UK in-store card payments were made contactlessly in 2021

The total transaction value of contactless card payments made in UK stores “surged” by 40.2% in 2021 and the average number of contactless payments made each day increased by 27.5% compared with the previous year, according to Barclaycard.

The average contactless user made 180 transactions worth a total of £2,293 (US$3,078) in 2021, compared with an average of 141 transactions worth a total of £1,640 (US$2,200) in 2020, while the percentage of all UK in-store card payments that were made contactlessly rose from 88.6% in 2020 to 91.1% in 2021.

“Analysis across sectors shows that the value of contactless transactions made in the entertainment sector, which includes cinemas, theatres, bowling alleys and arcades, grew by 105.8%, while bars, pubs and clubs drove an 83.4% increase year-on-year,” Barclaycard says.

“Other significant increases in the value of payments made include at sports and outdoor retailers (up 64.7%), clothing stores (up 64.6%) and takeaway and fast food outlets (up 39.2%).”

“Our data shows that many shoppers have welcomed the £100 increase to the contactless limit and are now choosing to pay this way for goods and services in store,” Barclaycard’s Jose Carvalho adds.

“Unsurprisingly, many consumers are also increasingly reluctant to touch cash or PIN pads when they go to shops, which is why innovations that enable a ‘low-touch’ experience, such as contactless payments, have really grown in popularity.”

The UK raised the spending limit for contactless payments from £45 (US$60) to £100 (US$134) in October 2021.

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