Contactless payments reach £7.75bn over 2015


Spending on contactless cards more than tripled during 2015, with a total of £7.75 billion spent using "tap and go" payments last year, according to a trade body.

The huge growth means that more than one billion contactless purchases were made in 2015, according to the UK Cards Association.

Nearly one in every eight card transactions are now made using the technology.

Last year's total of £7.75 billion spent using contactless is over three times the £2.32 billion spent this way in 2014.

Indeed, total contactless spending in 2015 was more than double the preceding seven years combined, the Association said.

There were a total of 1.05 billion contactless purchases in 2015, up 228% on the previous year.

A new, higher transaction limit of £30 was introduced for contactless payments in September 2015, making it an increasingly handy alternative to cash.

In November, total spending on contactless topped £1 billion in a single month for the first time.

Contactless spending grew to £1.2 billion in December. There were 140 million contactless transactions in December - equating to 52 every second.

The UK Cards Association said around half of all debit and credit cards are now contactless, with a total of 79.3 million cards featuring the technology.

Graham Peacop, chief executive of the UK Cards Association, said: "The swift increase in contactless usage continued apace last year, with nearly one in eight card transactions now using the technology."

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.

While concerns have been raised about the security of the technology, which means people no longer have to provide their signature or PIN when making a relatively small payment, the industry has said that fraud levels are low.

Recent figures from Transport for London (TfL) showed that more than one million journeys are now made on the network every day using contactless.

Shashi Verma, director of customer experience at TfL, said: "The popularity of contactless payments on London's transport network is phenomenal. We've already seen more than 350 million journeys made using contactless, using cards from more than 80 different countries."

Separate contactless spending figures released by Barclaycard showed that spending using contactless increased annually in 2015 by 532% on commuter transport, by 188% in pubs and bars and by 177% in supermarkets.

Tami Hargreaves, commercial director, digital consumer payments at Barclaycard, said the £30 limit increase has "provided opportunities for consumers to make contactless payments for larger purchases - such as a full basket of groceries at the supermarket or a round of drinks in the pub".