Contactless payments soar as limit increase takes effect

The lifting of the limit on contactless payments to £100 in the UK has led to a surge in tap-and-pay transactions, as consumers use the touchless checkout method to pay for higher value items.

December 2021 card spending data from UK Finance reveals that the average amount spent per contactless card transaction rose by almost 30 per cent following the contactless spending limit increasing from £45 to £100 in October last year.

In September, prior to the contactless limit increase, the average spend per contactless payment was £11.86, which increased to £15.30 in December.

For 2021 as a whole, the card spending data shows a total of 13.1 billion contactless payments were made in the year – equivalent to 415 transactions every second. This is up 36 per cent compared with 2020 and 52 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

The total value of contactless transactions in 2021 also increased, reaching £165.9 billion. This is 46 per cent higher than in 2020 and 106 per cent more than 2019.

The proportion of card payments that were contactless continued to increase in December 2021 and reached its highest recorded level, accounting for 69 per cent of all debit card transactions and 56 per cent of all credit card transactions.

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