More than £2 billion spent on contactless cards in a month, figures show

Contactless card spending has topped £2 billion in the space of a month across the UK for the first time, industry figures show.

A total of £2.1 billion-worth of contactless payments were made in July, the UK Cards Association said.

Total card spending increased to a monthly record of £53.9 billion in July, with debit cards accounting for the majority of the rise, the Association said. More than 1.2 billion card purchases took place during the month.

Nearly a fifth (19%) of all card payments were made using contactless technology in July as the popularity of "tap and go" spending continued to grow.

The £2 billion milestone was reached just four months after contactless spending passed the £1.5 billion mark in March.

Hotels saw a particularly big increase in overall card spending between June and July, up 25% to £2.1 billion.

The Association said it is likely the lower value of the pound encouraged a greater number of travellers to spend in hotels.

Contactless card use has grown rapidly in recent years as a handy alternative to cash. In September 2015, the contactless card limit for a single transaction was raised by £10, to £30.

The average contactless payment came to £8.75 in July, up by £1.76 on July 2015.

Trade association Payments UK has previously predicted that debit cards are set to overtake cash to be the UK's most frequently-used payment method by 2021, helped by the rapid rise in contactless payments.

However, some concerns about contactless cards and fraud have been raised as the popularity of this type of spending has grown.

Consumer help website recently raised concerns that some contactless cardholders are being left at risk of fraudulent payments being made from their account - even after they have cancelled cards which have been lost or stolen. previously said the "chaotic system" means that while some accounts are prevented from being raided by this type of fraud, in other cases it is left to customers to spot dodgy payments.

But the UK Cards Association has previously said fraud on contactless cards is rare and considerably lower than overall card fraud.

The number of contactless transactions grew by almost 10% in July to reach around 240 million, the Association said.

Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association, said: "Consumers' adoption of contactless continues apace, with the number of contactless payments jumping by a tenth in just one month. At over £2 billion, contactless spending in July was more than three times higher than the same period last year."