UK contactless transactions more than doubled in 2014, Barclaycard reports

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Data released by Barclaycard shows that the number of contactless credit and debit card transactions made by its UK cardholders more than doubled last year compared to 2013 figures.

Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all credit and debit card transactions in the UK, saw spend by value soar by 115% and volumes by 108% as consumers increasingly enjoyed the speed and ease of paying contactlessly.

Across the country it’s men who are the biggest adopters of contactless technology, accounting for almost two thirds (64%) of current contactless active customers, compared to the 36 per cent made by women).

Regionally, Bristol was found to have the most significant increase in contactless usage in 2014, with transactions growing by over 150% between 1 January 1 and 31 December 2014, more than any other major UK city. This was followed by London which saw over 130% increase in the same period.

London leads the way when it comes to overall contactless penetration, however, accounting for three in every 10 eligible contactless transactions (30.1%) in 2014. Leeds is hot on the Capital’s heels in second place at 27.3%, followed by Cambridge in third place (14.9%). Oxford with 14.0% contactless penetration and Manchester with 13.6% complete the top five.

Barclaycard’s data found that the average the UK contactless user is 43 years old. Manchester has the youngest users at 39 with Blackpool and Oxford the oldest at 45.

The growth in contactless usage by Barclaycard customers underlines the company’s leading role in contactless technology, having introduced it into the UK in 2007 and remaining at the forefront of its continued rollout to consumers and retailers ever since.

Last year Barclaycard introduced its bPay wristband, the UK’s first open market contactless wearable allowing consumers of any bank to pay simply and easily with just a ‘wave of their wrist’. During the busy Christmas shopping period, Barclaycard also trialled contactless payment gloves, enabling shoppers to ‘tap and pay’ by waving their hand in front of a contactless payment terminal.

Tami Hargreaves, head of contactless, Barclaycard, said: “Every second counts for today’s busy shopper and ‘tap and go’ payments are now the norm for an increasing number of consumers.  Paying contactlessly is not only quicker, but it’s easier, safer and more secure. Speedier processing of contactless transactions saves valuable time at the till point and as the old adage goes – ‘time is money’. We expect contactless payments to continue to prosper in 2015 as ‘tap and go’ becomes a habitual way of paying.”

There are now 45m contactless cards in circulation in the UK and a quarter of all new cards are contactless-enabled.