Transport, supermarkets and pharmacies are 2015’s big contactless winners, Barclaycard reports


Contactless spending by Barclaycard’s UK customers in pubs and bars, pharmacies, supermarkets and on commuter transport rocketed in 2015, with overall spending up 164%. The news comes as industry body, UKCA, reveals that total contactless spending reached £7.75bn last year – treble the amount spent in 2014.

Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all credit and debit card transactions in the UK, saw the value of spending using contactless technology in supermarkets jump 177 in 2015. This sharp increase is largely due to the maximum transaction value rising from £20 to £30 in September 2015, meaning ‘touch and go’ payments now cover the average basket cost of £25.

London’s busy commuters continued to take advantage of the ability to pay for travel using contactless and mobile payments. Transport for London (TfL) first introduced contactless terminals to the city’s busses in 2012 and this was extended to tubes, trams and ferries in September 2014 – meaning 2015 was the first full year that the technology could be used across London’s entire public transport network, leading contactless use to rocket by 532 per cent last year.

Contactless spending in pharmacies also shot up by 207% while pubs & bars and service stations saw a 188% and 177% climb in ‘touch and go’ payments respectively.

Top categories by growth

Category Annual contactless spend increase in 2015
Commuter transport 532%
Pharmacies 207%
Pubs and Bars 188%
Supermarkets 177%
Service Stations 176%
Newsagents 110%
Fast food outlets 108%
Restaurants 104%
Convenience Stores 100%
Caterers 96%

More than a quarter of active Barclaycard customers now use contactless technology to pay for goods and services every month, and customers now make more contactless transactions in a single calendar month than were made in the whole of 2013.

Tami Hargreaves, commercial director, digital consumer payments at Barclaycard, said: “The speed and ease of contactless payments means this is fast becoming the preferred way for consumers to pay for many every day purchases. An increasing number of merchants are also choosing to accept contactless payments in response to this demand, leading to an explosion in contactless spending across the board.

“The £30 limit increase has also provided opportunities for consumers to make contactless payments for larger purchases – such as a full basket of groceries at the supermarket or a round of drinks in the pub – which goes some way to explain why volumes rocketed in 2015.  We expect to see contactless spending continue to grow throughout 2016 as both consumers and businesses enjoy the speed and convenience of touch and go payments.”

This year Barclaycard is celebrating 50 years of payment innovation in the UK. From introducing the first credit card to the UK in 1966, to launching Chip & PIN and wearables, to launching contactless technology in 2007, Barclaycard has a played an integral role in developing many new payment innovations which have transformed the way we shop for goods and services.