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UK contactless spending grows five fold in a year

2 MIN READ 30th August 2013
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People in Britain are becoming increasingly comfortable with using contactless payment technology, according to new figures from Visa Europe.

The UK made 5.3 million contactless transactions in March 2013 alone, according to Visa.

In the last 12 months, UK consumers have made 51 million contactless purchases, amounting to a total of £338 million. June was a particularly strong month, with the monthly contactless spend increasing five fold year-on year to £45.2 million.

Visa partly attributes this growth to its advertising campaign starring Usain Bolt. This tied in with Visa’s contactless and mobile payment showcase during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“A year ago we launched the Contactless 2012 campaign to raise public awareness of contactless technology and the convenience and flexibility it brings to day to day payments,” said Mark Austin, Head of Contactless at Visa Europe.

“We are delighted to see the technology now being used so frequently on the high street as consumers become confident in making every day contactless payments and we’re excited about the number of new shops due to roll out contactless payment in the remainder of 2013.”

“The UK made 5.3 million contactless transactions in March 2013 alone.  The average value over the past 12 months was £6.65.”

There are currently more than 28 million Visa contactless cards in circulation across the UK. These allow users to make purchases of less than £20 without a PIN or passcode, by simply touching their card to a payment terminal. Europe said that the average purchase value over the past 12 months was £6.65.

Banks including Barclays, Barclaycard, Capital One, Duncan Lawrie, HSBC, Investec, Lloyds Banking Group, MBNA, NatWest and RBS all issue contactless cards in the UK. Mobile contactless payments are also being pushed by a number of network operators and handset manufacturers.

Visa contactless payment are accepted at a range of retailers including M&S, McDonalds, Pret A Manger, Boots, Co-Op, WHSmith, Starbucks and Costcutter.

Visa also said that more than 3 million Visa contactless journeys have been made on London buses since Transport for London introduced the payments system in December 2012.

The news comes as Transport for London (TfL) launches a public consultation on plans to stop people using cash to pay for bus travel.

Since the introduction of the Oyster card and contactless payments cards the number of people paying with cash has fallen to less than one percent, according to TfL, and cutting cash payments could save the government £24 million a year.



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