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Contactless transactions surge in UK

News, 02 September 2015

LONDON: The limit for a single contactless card transaction in the UK has been raised from £20 to £30 after new official figures revealed a huge rise in the number of people using the payment method in the UK.

According to the UK Cards Association, the industry body, more contactless payments took place during the first half of 2015 (£2.5bn) than for the whole of 2014 (£2.32bn).

There were more than 69m contactless payment cards in circulation in June 2015, up from 59.7m in January, which meant more than 9.3m contactless cards were issued to consumers in just six months.

Over the same period, the value of contactless transactions rose from £287m in January to £567m in June.

The UK Cards Association said the new £30 limit was being introduced in recognition of the popularity of this "tap and go" technology and as the number of cards in circulation rises.

It also should provide a better match for consumers' purchasing choices because the increase will mean that their average supermarket spend of £25 would now be covered.

The average card spend in pubs, cinemas, dry cleaners, pet shops and gift shops will also fall under the new £30 limit, the trade body said.

Commenting on the announcement, Graham Peacop, CEO of the UK Cards Association, said: "Contactless payments are fast, easy and secure.

"With more contactless cards in wallets than ever before and a growing number of retailers accepting contactless payments, we have seen a huge rise in the number of payments being made.

"The growth in contactless payments shows people want to use contactless cards and increasing the limit gives customers even more opportunities to pay in this way."

Despite the evident growing popularity of the new technology, consumer group Which? last month warned about its susceptibility to fraud after researchers acquired enough data to buy items, including a TV worth £3,000.

However, the UK Cards Association said the amount of fraud on contactless cards was "extremely low", at less than one penny for every £100 spent and 10 times lower than total card fraud losses.

Data sourced from UK Cards Association, BBC; additional content by Warc staff