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End of cash? Barclays says record 91 per cent of transactions were contactless last year

Just over nine in 10 (91.2 per cent ) card transactions made last year where paying by contactless would have been an option did use this technology, according to data from Barclays.

The bank said this is the highest proportion it has seen, with 85.6 per cent  of eligible card transactions being contactless in 2021.

Transactions that were eligible to be contactless were those made face-to-face or in-store, up to the value of the contactless card limit, which is currently £100.

“Silver spenders” are helping to drive up contactless use. Barclays said the fastest growth in contactless use it has been seeing is among the over-65 age group.

In 2022, 82.6 per cent  of cardholders aged over 65 were using contactless, up from 78.8 per cent  in 2021, according to Barclays’ data.

Across all age groups, contactless users made an average of 220 “tap and go” transactions last year, up from around 180 in 2021.

On average, people spent £15.13 last year when making a contactless transaction.

The bank analysed consumer card spending data from Barclays debit card and Barclaycard credit card transactions to make the findings.

Across its issuing and acquiring businesses, Barclays said it sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions.

Hotels, bars, pubs, clubs, the electronics sector and clothing retailers were among the sectors which recorded particularly big jumps in contactless spending in 2022, compared with 2021, Barclays found.

As UK shoppers rushed to complete their Christmas purchases last year, December 23 was the busiest day for contactless shopping, with the total value being 92.1 per cent  higher than the daily average during 2022.

Adam Lishman, head of consumer products at Barclays, said: “The popularity of contactless payments took another leap forwards last year.

“The higher £100 limit, introduced at the end of 2021, really made its mark as shoppers flooded back to high streets following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, leading to a surge in transactions. Brits are also becoming more comfortable making high-value contactless payments from their mobile, with these transactions accounting for an even greater share of total contactless spend.”

The findings were released as Nationwide Building Society said the value of credit card payments and debt repayments was 13 per cent  higher in January compared with 12 months ago.

The value of spending on airline travel by Nationwide’s members jumped by 68 per cent  compared with January 2022, while holiday spending increased by 43 per cent  over the same period.

Overall, the value of non-essential spending fell by 11 per cent  month-on-month in January, while spending on essentials, such as household bills, transport and supermarket shopping, increased by two per cent  month-on-month, according to Nationwide.

Nationwide’s monthly spending report analysed nearly 215 million debit card, credit card and direct debit transactions made by the society’s members in January 2023.

Mark Nalder, payments strategy and performance director at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Despite worries, the nation is preparing for warmer weather and one area of non-essential spending where there has been a significant uptick in January is holidays and travel, as people look to plan ahead and book some time away from home during this year.”

Read more:
End of cash? Barclays says record 91 per cent of transactions were contactless last year

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