Thursday 6 June 2019 11:37 am

Contactless and mobile payments surge in UK in 2018

The number of contactless payments made in the UK surged in 2018, new figures have shown, as all Britons’ from grandparents to teenagers increased their use of the technology.

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Meanwhile, the use of cash continued to decline, with only four per cent of Britons’ mainly using physical money for their payments, yearly data from banking trade association UK Finance today revealed.

Contactless payments took off in 2015, with Transport for London pioneering the technology by allowing Londoners to tap their debit cards at tube station entrances.

There was a 31 per cent growth in contactless payment volumes in 2018 compared to the year before, the UK Finance figures showed, with 70 per cent of people in London using contactless cards.

Over 83 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds used contactless technology in 2018, while 61 per cent of over-65s also used the method.

The number of people paying using their mobile phones also rose significantly. The proportion of UK adults registered to use Apple Pay, Google Pay or a similar service climbed to 16 per cent in 2018 from 10 per cent in 2017. Only two per cent were registered in 2016.

Cashless lifestyles were increasingly popular. Around 10 per cent of Britons’ – 5.4m people – used cash only once a month or less last year, compared to 3.4m in 2017.

The technological revolution made itself felt in banking too, with 72 per cent of all UK adults using online banking in 2018, and 48 per cent using mobile banking.

Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said: “The same pick ‘n’ mix approach people now take when it comes to music, television or the news is expanding into payments, as consumers take advantage of new technologies to pay in a way that suits them.”

“More and more customers are now opting for the speed and convenience of paying with their contactless cards, or using mobile banking to check their balances and make transfers while on the move,” he said.

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He added: “However, technology is not for everyone and cash remains a payment method that is valued and preferred by many, so maintaining access to cash will be vital to ensure no customer is left behind.”