Contactless payments surged over 40 per cent last year as entertainment and hospitality payments rebounded and cash usage continued to spiral, new data has revealed.
Over 91 per cent of all eligible card transactions in the UK were made contactlessly in 2021, with the average user racking up £2,293 across 180 contactless payments throughout the year, according to data from Barclaycard.
Contactless payments received a boost in October after the limit on purchases was lifted from £45 to £100, leading to a jump in payments of 27.5 per cent.
Jose Carvalho, Head of Consumer Products at Barclaycard said: “Our data shows that many shoppers have welcomed the £100 increase to the contactless limit and are now choosing to pay this way for goods and services in store.
“Unsurprisingly, many consumers are also increasingly reluctant to touch cash or PIN pads when they go to shops which is why innovations that enable a ‘low-touch’ experience, such as contactless payments have really grown in popularity.”
The loosening of covid restrictions led to a jump in payments in the entertainment sector, growing over 105 per cent on 2020 levels, while bars, pubs and clubs saw an 83 per cent rise.
Last-minute Christmas shoppers gave contactless payments their busiest day of theyear on 23 December, where the value of eligible sales grew by 121.4 per cent, compared to the daily average of 2021.
Cash usage in the UK has spiralled in the UK throughout the pandemic, with cash machine network Link warning last week that ATM usage is unlikely to return to “anything like pre-pandemic levels”.
Link found that ATM transactions fell by 7% last year, with 1.5 billion withdrawals and balance inquiries made, down from just over 1.6 billion in 2020.
UK banking customers withdrew £79 billion from cash machines, down from £81 billion in 2020.