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Two-thirds of British people have used contactless cards

The take up of contactless payment technology continues at a pace, according to research by Visa

Two-thirds of people in Britain have made payments using a contactless credit or debit card and a quarter have done so using a smartphone.

Contactless cards have been around for 10 years this month, and today 66% of people in Britain have used one to make a payment, according to research by Visa.

In June, 34% of total card payments were contactless. People aged between 18 and 35 – known as millennials – were the biggest users, with just over three-quarters (76%) using contactless cards to make payments, compared with 65% in the same month last year. 

High street grocers are the main locations of UK contactless payments, with fast food restaurants and transport providers increasingly popular. Boosted by contactless, card payments now account for more spending in UK retailers than cash.

In the UK, the highest proportion of people making contactless card payments is in London (78%). People in Wales are the next most likely users, with 70% having made a contactless card payment. South West England has the lowest proportion, with just 58% of people using the payment technology.

Kevin Jenkins, managing director for Visa UK, believes the introduction of contactless cards in the UK 10 years ago was a watershed moment for consumers.

“However, there’s still room for the uptake of contactless to grow, particularly outside London and the South East,” he said. 

“Our study shows the appetite for adopting new payment methods is greater than ever and, with mobile devices opening up myriad new ways to pay, the next 10 years looks set to see contactless payments become an ever greater part of our day-to-day lives.”

Read more about digital and contactless payments

The survey found that 26% of the country has used a mobile device to make a contactless payment through apps such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

According to figures from Worldpay, UK consumers used their mobile phones to make £370m worth of contactless payments in the first six months of 2017. This represented an increase of 336% for payments known as mobile tap and pay compared with the first six months of 2016.

Supermarkets and grocery stores are the main locations where mobile tap and pay transactions are made, accounting for 55% of total spend, Worldpay said.

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