It’s Official – Contactless Payments Are Taking Over

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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‘Tap and pay’ becoming increasingly popular, with 45 million contactless payments card now active in the UK, Barclaycard survey finds

Contactless payments have hit a record high in the UK as more and more of us look to speed up our shopping, new research has found.

Figures released today by Barclaycard show that 2014 was the year British customers really took to contactless payments, with 45 million contactless cards now in circulation in the UK.

Overall, spending via contactless leapt 115 per cent by value and 108 per cent by volume in 2014, with a quarter of all new cards now featuring the technology.

barclaycard contactless National

London leads the way when it comes to overall contactless penetration in the UK, accounting for three in every 10 eligible contactless transactions (30.1 percent) in 2014.

However, the technology is catching on all around the country, with Leeds (27.3 percent) and Cambridge (14.9 percent) seeing the next highest usage, and Oxford (14.0 percent) and Manchester (13.6 percent) completing the top five.

The average age of the UK contactless user is 43 years old, the company found, with more men using the technology than women, making up almost two thirds (64 percent) of current contactless active customers, compared to the 36 percent made by women.

bPay glove paymentQuick and easy

“Every second counts for today’s busy shopper and ‘tap and go’ payments are now the norm for an increasing number of consumers,” said Tami Hargreaves, head of contactless, Barclaycard.

“Paying contactlessly is not only quicker, but it’s easier, safer and more secure. Speedier processing of contactless transactions saves valuable time at the till point and as the old adage goes – ‘time is money’. We expect contactless payments to continue to prosper in 2015 as ‘tap and go’ becomes a habitual way of paying.”

Barclaycard has been at the forefront of expanding contactless payments in the UK, having launched a number of recent initiatives promoting the technology.

This includes the company’s bPay wristband, the UK’s first contactless wearable, which allows consumers of any bank to pay simply and easily with just a ‘wave of their wrist’.

During the busy Christmas shopping period, Barclaycard also trialled contactless payment gloves (pictured above), enabling shoppers to ‘tap and pay’ by waving their hand in front of a contactless payment terminal.

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