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Contactless card spending hits record high

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Spending on contactless cards reached a record £1.5bn in one month for the first time, data has revealed.

Contactless payments totalled £1.508bn in March, The UK Cards Association research shows, with garden centres, gardening services, bakers and dairies seeing the largest increases in spending.

The latest milestone comes just four months after contactless spending hit £1bn in November 2015, up from the £0.5bn recorded in May last year.

One in seven of all card transactions are now contactless, compared to one in 16 just a year ago. The current limit is £30 for a contactless card transaction.

There were a total of 1.79 billion contactless purchases in March, or 67 every second. In total, 86.5 million contactless cards, identified by a four line wave symbol, are in circulation in the UK.

Overall, total payment card spending was £51.9bn in March, with 1.18 billion transactions in the month.

By sector, retail spending decreased by £19m to £24bn in March, while service sector spending rose by £8.9m to £28bn.

Richard Koch, head of policy at The UK Cards Association, said: “It took almost eight years for monthly contactless spending to reach half a billion pounds – now it’s grown by the same amount in just four months. This dramatic rise shows that paying with contactless is now second nature for millions of consumers who see it as an alternative to cash.

“Contactless cards are already being used to pay for travel and to donate to charity and as the technology evolves, we will see even more environments where contactless will enable fast, easy and secure payments.”