Contactless cards used for £1bn of spending in one month

A record £1 billion was spent using "tap and go" contactless cards in November, figures show.

The total value of contactless payments made over the month was £1.02 billion, industry body the UK Cards Association said.

It marks the first time contactless spending across the UK has hit the £1 billion mark in a single month.

A total of 121 million contactless purchases were made during November.

In September, the limit for a single payment that could be made using contactless was increased by £10 to £30, making it an increasingly handy alternative to cash.

The average transaction value of a contactless payment increased to £8.03 in November, up from £7.72 in October - which the UK Cards Association said was likely due to the new £30 payment limit.

The technology enables customers to pay for goods with a single tap of their card on a reader, without the need to provide a signature or enter their Pin.

The range of places where contactless payments are accepted includes Aldi, Barnardo's, Greggs, McDonald's, the M6 Toll, London Buses, London Tubes and the Post Office.

Meanwhile, the figures also show that total spending on payment cards in November reached new monthly highs in records going back to 1994.

It said the total value of card purchases, including debit and credit cards, was a record £53.2 billion in November, with the number of purchases also at a monthly record high of 1.174 billion. The rises were partly put down to shopping bonanzas such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

More than one-fifth (22%) of card spending in November was done online.

The number of online purchases made using cards jumped by 23% year-on-year as shoppers turned to the internet to grab Christmas bargains, with 142 million purchases with a total value of £11.8 billion made in November.

Hobbies, toys and games stores and gift shops such as jewellers and cosmetics stores recorded substantial rises in spending in November, reflecting the Christmas shopping season, the Association said.

Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association, said: "Spending on contactless cards has increased almost fourfold since the beginning of 2015 and for £1 billion to be spent via contactless in a month is a major milestone.

"Whether it's buying lunch or paying for travel, there is a real appetite for contactless payments and this is only going to grow and grow."

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