Payment card transactions hit one billion in a month as contactless rises

Payment transactions made through cards reached over one billion in August of this year, according to the UK Cards Association

Payment transactions made by card reached over one billion in August of this year, compared with 922 million in August of 2013, according to the UK Cards Association. 

The rise is likely linked to the popularity of contactless payments, which have also increased in the past year.

Figures collected by the trade association say 375 transactions a second are now made in the UK alone – the first time card transactions have hit these figures.

Richard Koch, head of policy at The UK Cards Association, explained this increase in monthly transactions is an indicator of how fast the payments industry is changing.

The research found card transactions had a year-on-year increase of 9.2% in August 2014, and debit cards are more popular than credit cards, reflecting the fickle nature of modern consumers.

But average card payments are not the only form of payment on the rise, with contactless payments reaching £126.7 million in May 2014 and mobile transaction service Paym processing £6.5 million transactions in its first 100 days.

Many firms are now investing in contactless initiatives, and mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Zapp are also on the rise.

MasterCard has also highlighted the importance of contactless payments, and has given European retailers a deadline of 2020 to ensure all point of sale (POS) systems can make contactles payments.

Koch said: “Rather than walking around with wads of notes or pockets full of coins, we’re increasingly choosing to use a card instead. With the rise in contactless transactions as a convenient way to make smaller payments, and online shopping too, it’s debit cards in particular that are leading the rise.”

The payments space is constantly evolving, and banks are beginning to invest in financial services startups to evolve financial services technology at greater speeds, and invest in technology such as Biometric authentication or NFC technology.

But many banks still rely on large legacy systems for back-end processing, and The 2014 World Payments report by Capgemini and RBS found alternative payments increased globally by 9.4%, highlighting the need for finance firms to keep up with the industry.

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