According to UK Finance, during 2018 the number of contactless payments made in the UK increased by 31% to 7.4 billion payments. There were nearly 124 million contactless cards in circulation at the end of 2018, with 84% of debit cards and 64% of credit cards in the UK having contactless functionality.

Consumers aged between 25 and 34 were the most likely group to use contactless cards, with 83% of people in this age group making contactless payments during 2018. Despite people aged 65 or older being less likely than younger people to make contactless payments, more than three fifths (61%) of this age group made contactless payments during 2018, up from just over 50% in 2017.

UK Finance also recorded that cash payments continued to decline in 2018, falling by 16%. They noted the main cause of the decline in cash payments has been the increasing use of debit cards, and, in particular, the growing popularity of contactless payments. During 2018 there were 5.4 million consumers who almost never used cash at all, instead relying on cards and other payment methods to manage their spending. This was an increase from 3.4 million consumers the previous year, showing the growth in people who are living an almost cashless life.

Health and Wellbeing

Changing the way we interact with the devices around us, such as vending machines, has now become an indispensable step to reduce the risk of spreading bacteria and viruses such as Covid-19, which will be reflected in improved health for users.

The UK has increased it’s contactless payment limit to £45 in response to COVID-19. Contactless payments cut the spread of coronavirus by reducing the need to touch keypads on card readers and results in fewer transactions carried out in cash, which can also encourage the spread of the virus. Data from Barclaycard shows the new limit has led the average value of contactless transactions to jump from £9.28 in 2019, to just under £14. The total amount spent using contactless on transactions over £30 is already more than £264m.

Using contactless

There are several ways to use contactless, the first is via a contactless ready card, another method is via an NFC-enabled mobile phone and the third is using a wearable NFC-enabled device. Most new devices come NFC enabled, if not you may have to stick with your card.

The last 2 options require a verified bank app to be able to complete a transaction. Once equipped, all that’s needed is for you to bring the card or device within close proximity to the payment reader for a moment until the payment has been approved.

Contactless payment technology can be included when acquiring new machines and retrofitted to most pre-existing machines.

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