Contactless card spending tops £1.5bn in month for first time

Contactless card spending has topped £1.5 billion in the space of a month for the first time, according to an industry trade body.

The UK Cards Association said contactless payments totalled a record £1.508 billion in March.

The milestone was reached just four months after contactless spending reached £1 billion for the first time in November 2015.

One in seven of all card transactions are now contactless, compared with one in 16 a year ago, the association said.

Some 67 contactless purchases were made every second in March, with 179.6 million contactless purchases in total.

Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association, said: "It took almost eight years for monthly contactless spending to reach half a billion pounds - now it's grown by the same amount in just four months. This dramatic rise shows that paying with contactless is now second nature for millions of consumers who see it as an alternative to cash.

"Contactless cards are already being used to pay for travel and to donate to charity and as the technology evolves we will see even more environments where contactless will enable fast, easy and secure payments."

In September 2015, 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 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.

There are around 86.5 million contactless cards in issue in the UK, including debit and credit cards.

Someone making a "tap and go" payment spent £8.40 per transaction on average in March, up by 11p on February.