10 years of contactless: Payments more than double in a year

4 September 2017

Shoppers have adopted contactless technology en masse in the 10 years since it first launched, according to new figures.

Contactless payments were first introduced in September 2007. In the decade since, the number of contactless cards in the UK has grown to 111 million as of June 2017. Contactless now accounts for 34% of all card transactions in the UK.

We’ve also seen the rise of mobile contactless payments, such as Apple, Android, and Samsung Pay.

As a result, financial trade association, Finance UK, says contactless is now replacing cash for many cases of spending under £30.

It found that contactless payments (including card and mobile payments) have more than doubled in the first half of 2017 compared to the first half of 2016 – rising by 150% from £9.27 billion to £23.23 billion.The most popular locations for contactless spending are supermarkets, off-licences, restaurants, fast food eateries, pubs and coffee shops.

Richard Koch head of cards at UK Finance comments, “Contactless has revolutionised the way consumers pay, and is increasingly being used instead of cash for transactions under £30.

“With a generation of customers now used to the convenience of paying with contactless we are confident that the places you can use it will continue to grow, with usage predicted to increase four-fold in the next 10 years.”

One billion journeys made

One of the most ubiquitous rollouts in contactless card payments has been on London’s transport network, where passengers are now able to traverse the system without ever having to use a ticket machine, or even an Oyster Card.

Shashi Verma, chief technology officer at Transport for London says, “Contactless payments have completely transformed how people pay for travel in London.  We’ve now seen more than one billion journeys made using contactless payment cards and on average two million journeys are made every day.

“Transport has led the way on contactless and become the catalyst for the use of this new payment method. The benefits to customers have been immeasurable and many world cities are now looking to adopt similar payment systems on their transport network.” 

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