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Average consumer spent more than £3,300 using contactless payments in 2022

The amount of money spent using contactless payment technology continues to rise as consumers take advantage of higher allowable spending limits

People who have adopted contactless payments spent an average of £3,327 using the technology in 2022 as they took advantage of the higher spending limit.

According to figures from Barclays bank, over 90% of transactions in 2022 that were eligible to be made using contactless technology were paid that way. The bank said the total amount spent using contactless was up by just under 50%, but it did not reveal the exact figure.

Contactless cards were first introduced in 2007 with a £10 spending limit that has gradually increased – it moved from £30 to £45 in 2020 during the early stages of the pandemic, and hit £100 in 2021.

The move to the £100 limit followed the increased use of contactless cards during the Covid-19 pandemic. Banking industry trade body UK Finance had already asked HM Treasury to consider increasing the maximum.

Adam Lishman, head of consumer products at Barclays, said: “The popularity of contactless payments took another leap forward last year. The higher £100 limit, introduced in 2021, really made its mark as shoppers flooded back to high streets following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, leading to a surge in transactions.”

The figures include contactless payments using mobile phones which, due to requiring two-factor authentication, have no spending limit.

Lishman said: “Brits are becoming more comfortable making high-value contactless payments from their mobile, with these transactions accounting for an even greater share of total contactless spend.”

According to the research, contactless transactions above £100 made using mobile phones increased 109% during 2022, accounting for 4.1% of the total value of transactions made.

It found that the average contactless user made 220 payments last year, up from 180 in 2021. The average payment value was slightly more than £15.

The move to digital banking channels, such as the use of contactless payment technology, accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic when bank branches and shops closed to reduce the spread of the virus. As consumers became more accustomed with digital technology, with increasing take up of offers from digital-only banks.

Separate research from financial services comparison site Finder.com has revealed that 24% of people in the UK now use a digital-only bank. This has increased from 9% reported in the first survey in 2019.

It also revealed that over the next 12 months, 5.3 million Brits will open an account with a digital-only bank, with another 4.8 million planning to do so in the next five years. More than 22 million Brits could have a digital-only bank account by 2028. 

Worryingly for traditional banks, which are hoping existing customers turn to their digital offerings, a survey has found that 16% of UK adults (8.5 million) opened, or intend to open, a digital-only bank account due to a lack of bank branches in their local area. The big high street banks are closing thousands of bank branches and encouraging customers to use digital channels

In recent weeks, NatWest said it would shutter 23 more branches in England and Wales, while Lloyds Banking Group recently announced it would close another 40 branches. These come on top of swinging cuts to branch networks in recent years.

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