Record 64% of debit card payments were contactless in September

Nearly two in every three debit card payments in September were contactless – marking a record high proportion, according to a trade association.

Contactless payments made up a record 64% of debit card transactions during the month, UK Finance said, which surpassed a previous record proportion of 62% in August.

More than four in 10 (46%) credit card transactions were also contactless.

The total number of contactless card transactions fell slightly by 1.1% compared with August, and was down by 5.3% compared to September 2019, UK Finance said.

The value of contactless spending, however, was 18.1% higher than in September last year, as consumers continued to make use of the increased £45 limit.

The total value of contactless transactions was £8.2 billion in September, up from £7 billion in the same month of last year.

Some shops have been encouraging customers to pay with cards, rather than cash, during the coronavirus pandemic.

September also saw outstanding balances on credit cards continue to shrink, contracting by 14% over the previous 12 months as a result of repayments outstripping new borrowing over the period.

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: “September saw the proportion of contactless debit card payments hit a record high for the second month in a row, rising to 64% of total transactions in August.

“The value of overall contactless spending was also up by over 18% compared to the same period last year, as consumers made further use of the increased £45 contactless spending limit.

“Debit card spending remained a preference as consumers continued to opt for more immediate settlement of payments as a means of managing their finances amid this year’s economic uncertainty.”