Wednesday 3 June 2020 2:08 pm

Contactless payments soar over £900m in UK lockdown

Barclaycard today revealed it has processed over 25m contactless payments above £30 since the new £45 limit was introduced, with a total value of over £900m.

As of April 1, when the spending cap was raised, the average of these payments has been £36.29, according to data released by the brand.

The limit was raised in order to try and encourage people to use contactless payments for more transactions to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Many have predicted that health concerns caused by the pandemic will hasten the faster decline of cash as a payment system.

Barclaycard said that now over 90 per cent of face-to-face payments were made through the contactless method.

The credit card brand saw a 23 per cent increase in such transactions last year, a figure that is likely to rise in 2020 given the current circumstances.

Tellingly, the data also showed that 57 per cent of in-store transactions at small businesses between £30 and £45 are now made using contactless, suggesting that consumers and firms alike have embraced the method of payment.

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Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, said: “Just as consumers are becoming more comfortable with contactless and digital payments, we’ve also witnessed this same behavioural shift with our merchant clients.

“Coronavirus has only accelerated this trend, with many traditionally face-to-face businesses switching to online and distance selling for the first time in order to adapt and grow, and it will be interesting to see how card payments continue to evolve in the months ahead.”

The data came as UK Finance revealed that card payments had for the first time made up more than half of all transactions in the UK in 2019.

Debit cards were the most used payment method in the UK with 17bn payments, of which 7bn were contactless. 

Consumer use of credit cards also rose during 2019, up by 7 per cent to 3.3bn payments, driven partly by the increase in contactless credit cards issued last year with 1.3bn credit card payments made via contactless in 2019. 

The financial body’s chief executive Stephen Jones said that the shift in payment habits may have helped prepare people for the upheaval to their lives caused by the coronavirus.

He said: “With consumers already using contactless payments and remote banking more than in previous years, these technological advances have allowed many people to shop and make payments safely from home or in store”.