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Over 90% of eligible transactions used contactless in 2021

The average number of transactions made contactlessly in the UK grew by 27.5% each day following the limit rise in October 2021

Contactless payments surged in 2021 as shoppers took advantage of the new £100 limit, with 91.1% of all eligible card transactions being made using contactless, and the total value of contactless payments rising 40.2% year-on-year.

The latest figures come from Barclaycard, whose data also showed that the average number of transactions made contactlessly in the UK grew by 27.5% each day following the limit rise in October 2021.

It found that all sectors have benefited from the contactless limit increase, with the payment method saving an average of seven seconds per transaction compared to Chip and PIN, and 15 seconds compared to cash.  

Analysis across all sectors showed that the value of contactless transactions made in the entertainment sector, which includes cinemas, theatres, bowling alleys, arcades grew by 105.8%, while bars, pubs and clubs drove an 83.4% increase year-on-year.

Other significant increases in the value of payments made include sports and outdoor retailers, which saw a rise of 64.7%, clothing stores with a rise of 64.6% and takeaway and fast food outlets, which were up 39.2%.

Individually, the average contactless user made 180 contactless payments in 2021, worth a total of £2,293, an increase from 2020 where users made on average 141 payments worth £1,640.  

Thursday 23 December 2021 was the busiest day for contactless transactions, where the value of contactless sales rocketed 121.4% compared to the daily average of 2021.

Jose Carvalho, head of Consumer Products at Barclaycard said: “Our data shows that many shoppers have welcomed the £100 increase to the contactless limit and are now choosing to pay this way for goods and services in store. 

“Unsurprisingly, many consumers are also increasingly reluctant to touch cash or PIN pads when they go to shops which is why innovations that enable a ‘low-touch’ experience, such as contactless payments have really grown in popularity.”

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, added: “The increase to the £100 payment limit has been a great opportunity to take friction out of the purchase experience. 

“This is especially the case in busy stores where queues can quickly build up; the faster that line moves through, the more likely shoppers are to have a good experience and want to come back. Speed at the checkout will often avoid shoppers going elsewhere, which is why the limit increase is a win-win for cardholders and merchants.”

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