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MasterCard – The UK Really Loves Contactless Payments

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Number of contactless cards in the UK increases 188 percent in 2015 as payments increase 375 percent

The UK is leading the way when it comes to adopting contactless payments, according to new figures from MasterCard which show a huge rise in using the technology.

The amount spent using contactless transactions in the country increased by 375 percent during 2015, compared to the previous year, as the total European figure topped one billion contactless transactions for the first time.

Overall, the number of contactless MasterCard debit and credit cards in the UK increased 188 percent during 2015, the company said, as users became more and more comfortable using their contactless cards.

Speedy

contactless paymentsHowever it seems that the UK is hardly a nation of big spenders when it comes to contactless, as MasterCard discovered that the average size of a contactless transaction was just £8.80.

Outside of retail, transport and travel appear to be the most popular uses for contactless, particularly in London, where the TfL network has been leading the way for the technology.

Recent figures from Visa Europe found that contactless now represents 25 percent of all pay-as-you-go payment transactions made on the TfL network, helping to support calls for a nationwide expansion of contactless payment services across the UK’s travel network.

MasterCard has also been helping encourage this usage by offering free TfL travel to users equipped with Apple Pay on several days in a bid to popularise the technology.

“The rise of contactless usage and acceptance is certainly encouraging, but so are the opportunities for retailers to capitalise on this trend,” said Scott Abrahams, group head of acceptance and emerging payments at MasterCard UK and Ireland.

“New research shows that in the UK, 59 percent of daily purchases are below £20, and therefore typically within the contactless limit. With the majority of transactions falling within the contactless price band, retailers are in the ideal position to take action and reap the benefits with so many consumers embracing this technology.”

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